Super Bowl 54 may not be taking place until next Sunday, but thousands took to both Bayfront Park and Miami Beach on Saturday as the first events opened leading up to the big game.
Football fans took to the Super Bowl Live event that opened its doors in downtown on Saturday, bringing everything from free food and games to fireworks and concerts during the night – as well as crowds that have already started to arrive even before both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have gotten to town.
“I was shocked by how crowded it was and the game’s not until next Sunday, so the week’s going to be insane down here,” said Sarah Vonharten, who came with friends to the event.
At the same time, the Super Bowl Experience opened inside the Miami Beach Convention Center with South Florida native and former Super Bowl champion wide receiver Anquan Boldin bringing the Lombardi Trophy into the event.
Run by the NFL, the event includes everything from an interactive theme park and games for the kids to go along with merchandise that can be purchased and autograph signings from current players and legends of the league.
At the same time, officials from several agencies across South Florida are reminding both residents and tourists to be on the lookout for criminal activity that can come with the big game’s first trip to the area in a decade – with some local volunteers placing soap in area hotels with a phone number for the National Human Trafficking hotline.
The "Soap Project" has taken place at each city hosting the Super Bowl over the last 10 years.