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If you think the NFL season opens with a football game, think again.

True, the Seahawks’ Sept. 4 game against Green Bay at CenturyLink Field will launch the NFL regular season, but it also concludes several days of activities including a Sept. 1 run, a two-day “NFL Gameday Village” in Pioneer Square and a free pregame concert with singer-producer Pharrell Williams and Seattle’s own Soundgarden.

Even people who don’t have tickets to the game will be able to attend the concert, because the stage will be set up between the stadium’s north plaza and the north parking lot. Gates open at 2:30 p.m.

This is the 13th year an NFL kickoff celebration has ignited the season, and the event has grown each year, said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s senior vice president of events.

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“We see the kickoff as a major bookend at the start of the season, with the Super Bowl on the other end,” O’Reilly said Wednesday.

Football-watching eyes across the country will be focused Sept. 4 on Seattle. For the 10th time, the NFL is inaugurating the new season with a prime-time Thursday matchup at the reigning Super Bowl champion’s home field.

Oher teams don’t play until that Sunday.

Kickoff events start three days before the game, with a 7:30 a.m. 5K run on Labor Day, and for the younger set, a half-mile “Play 60” run about 11 a.m.

“Play 60” is an NFL program to encourage young fans to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day, at home or at school. The 5K run also benefits a set of nonprofit organizations supported by the Seahawks.

Both runs end on the sideline of Century­Link Field, and participants can watch their finish on the stadium’s video screens. The Seahawks say this is the first time they’ve granted fans such access to the field.

NFL Gameday Village activities in Pioneer Square on Sept. 3 and 4 will include an autograph stage with former NFL stars, a youth zone with Play 60 activities and interactive displays.

Jack Broom: or 206-464-2222

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