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Peachtree Ridge excited to bring Falcons back to Suwanee

File Photo In this 2010 file photo, Atlanta Falcons' Michael Turner, left, signs a football for Seth Spann as he sits on his father Charles' shoulders after the Friday Night Lights scrimage game at North Gwinnett High School.

File Photo In this 2010 file photo, Atlanta Falcons' Michael Turner, left, signs a football for Seth Spann as he sits on his father Charles' shoulders after the Friday Night Lights scrimage game at North Gwinnett High School.

For 20 years, Suwanee was the home for the Atlanta Falcons' training camp.

Then the NFL franchise moved its preseason practices to Furman and its current site in Flowery Branch.

The Falcons will return to Suwanee on Friday when Peachtree Ridge hosts the Falcons' Friday Night Lights. The event allows fans to get an up-close-and-personal look at the Atlanta Falcons for the upcoming season.

"It's the 10-year anniversary of Peachtree Ridge," athletic director Jon Weyher said. "We are fortunate to have the Falcons and host it. It's a great way to give back to the community."

This is the fifth year the Falcons have held Friday Night Lights at a Gwinnett high school. The event was at Norcross last year and North Gwinnett, Brookwood and Mill Creek in past years.

"The Falcons have been very cordial to allow us to host it," Weyher said.

Peachtree Ridge is having its field replaced by the Falcons and has been working diligently to get its facilities ready for a crowd expected to top 10,000.

"We want the facilities to look pristine," Weyher said.

Gates open for the event at 6 p.m. and the Falcons are scheduled to take the field at 6:45 p.m. A Falcons fan festival will be held by team sponsors. After the Falcons scrimmage, players will sign autographs and the event will conclude with fireworks. The event is free and open to the public.

To accommodate the crowd, Peachtree Ridge will have a satellite parking lot at the Gwinnett Arena with buses ready to shuttle fans to the school.

"All we need is someone to make it a beautiful warm Friday night in Georgia and we'll be set," Weyher said.

The Falcons once practiced at the Falcon Inn, a renovated motel purchased by the team at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, from 1978-1998. The team spent six years at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., before residing in their current location in Flowery Branch, which is 20 miles north of Suwanee.

"I grew up a Detroit Lions fan and I'm still a Lions fan," Weyher said. "But on Aug. 3, I'll be the the No. 1 Falcons fan in Georgia."