Freeboot Friday brings businesses, Pirate fans together

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - It's considered the best time of the season for most sports fans.

East Carolina University fans are just like any others across the country. A new season brings new hope of something special on the field. Pirate fans dodged the raindrops for some food, fun and -- most important -- a chance to talk ECU football at Freeboot Friday before Saturday's season opener with James Madison at 6 p.m. "There's always excitement at the beginning of the year," said ECU fan J.B. Mayes. "Everybody is happy, ready to go, this is an excitement part of the year. We just have to keep it going We have a big game tomorrow against a good team." Mayes is correct as James Madison will enter Pirate County on Saturday as the defending FCS national champions. But before any touchdowns or field goals are made, the fans took some time to celebrate at the annual Freeboot Friday event. Because of the weather, the event was featured instead at one of Greenville's newest attractions, Pitt Street Brewing Company, which just opened last Saturday. "This is great for a new business and it's a great charge to a new business to have a great start," said Mike McCarthy, manager of the brewery. Event officials said despite the rain, it didn't dampen the spirits of those in attendance. It's also a good chance to talk ECU football and to showcase the many businesses in the area. "Whenever we host these events, we are doing a real service to assist our other businesses by putting people in the seats and feet on the streets," said Bianca Shoneman, president/CEO of Uptown Greenville.