With hundreds of football fans, inflatables, food trucks and even Zippy serving as a backdrop at Lock 3 Park, some of Akron’s prominent officials announced selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.

It was a fitting location: The Akron Pros were one of the league’s founding teams and won its first title in 1920. As the NFL celebrates its 100th anniversary, it reached out to Akron months ago to see if it would be interested in broadcasting a few of the draft picks live. It was part of the NFL’s Original Towns program, which also had cities such as Canton, Columbus and Dayton host live selections.

“We jumped at the opportunity to put this thing on,” Lock 3 coordinator Chris Griffith said. “We’re on national TV. There are millions of people around the world watching us, and we were able to be on there for 30, 40 seconds.”

In conjunction with the city, the University of Akron and Pritt Entertainment Group, Lock 3 started planning in its offseason and set up its stage three weeks before it usually goes up.

Crews spray-painted miniature football fields in the grass and they set up tailgate games for kids and adults.

But there was still plenty of uncertainty in the air. Although the plan was to broadcast the Browns’ pick at No. 189, it was possible the team would make a trade to move up or down in the draft. Everybody would’ve had to rush to their spots onstage if the Browns moved up in the round to make a selection, or they’d have to announce another team’s pick at No. 189 if they traded out of the round entirely.

In other words, coordinators were planning a live television broadcast that could change on a dime. It was entirely out of their control. They knew they’d do up to five draft picks, but when and who were all up in the air.

“That’s been the tough part,” Griffith said. “When we’ve done any advertising or interviews, it’s been like, ‘Well, what time is the pick at?’ ”

All worked out well, though. The Browns stayed at No. 189 and selected guard Drew Forbes from Southeast Missouri State. Akron hosted three other draft picks — Nos. 201 and 214 for the Kansas City Chiefs and No. 206 for Washington — before the NFL told officials at Lock 3 they were done for the day.

Mayor Dan Horrigan announced the Forbes pick with local football players and the grandson of Akron Pros star Fritz Pollard at his side. Pollard was the first African-American head coach in the American Professional Football Association, which changed its name to the NFL in 1922. Other announcers included Akron Deputy Mayor James Hardy, University of Akron Athletic Director Larry Williams and new Zips football coach and former NFL quarterback Tom Arth.

“It was exciting for us and it was exciting for the city. I’m glad they’re here,” Horrigan said. “How many chances am I ever going to get to announce a draft pick? It’s an honor to do it for the Browns, too.”

Selections officially came through PEG’s Brianna Kelly, who phoned in with NFL officials and wrote the names on cards. Twenty seconds after she handed them off to be relayed to the speaker at the podium, the broadcast feed went live and the picks were announced. At that time, fans went crazy — particularly kids who were ecstatic to be on television.

When the picks were announced, fans lined up near the front of the stage and cheered loudly. James Curby, 9, plays for the West Griffins youth football team and his grandmother recorded the draft on TV for him to watch later.

“It was fun,” he said. “I got to play football and be on TV.”

The combination of youth and paying homage to the game’s history is exactly what the league was aiming for with its Original Towns campaign, said Ryan Pritt, PEG president. He led the event coordination, ensuring everybody was in the right spots as the broadcast went live.

Though it was a busy job, he was still able to appreciate what it meant for Akron to host the event — PEG is just a few blocks away from Lock 3.

“I think one of the neatest things about it is the fact that it’s celebrating the 100th year of the NFL,” Pritt said. “We’re talking about the history of football in Akron, but then you look out here and see all the young kids and youth players from around the city. That’s a really fun dynamic and it’s cool that we could bring that all together in one place.”