The cast of ‘Friday Night Lights’ returned to Panther Field with clear eyes and full hearts

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AUSTIN, Texas With sweat stains on their backs and the soft glow of the setting Texas sun over their smiling faces, the cast of Friday Night Lights took to Panther field (appropriately) Friday night for a reunion that likely won’t be seen again for a long time.

The FNL tailgate party has been a signature event of the ATX Television Festival since its start five years ago, but all good things must come to an end. Or, as the festival’s co-creator Emily Gipson joked, they couldn’t keep asking the cast to come every year.

So they aimed to make this year bigger than ever, with almost two dozen returning cast members, including Connie Britton, who was nominated for an Emmy for her role on the show, and executive producer Jason Katims. They also staged the big screening and bash right on Panther Field, which sits just about 10 miles southeast of downtown Austin.

Friday Night Lights at #atxfestival

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The only problem? Since the show finished about five years ago, the field was, according to Gipson, “completely overgrown” and had “not been touched in five years.”

Clear eyes and full hearts, however, willed their wish to come true. On Friday, a crowd of hundreds stretched across nearly the entire field’s length by the start of the special screening.Kirsten Dunst, who co-starred with Jesse Plemons in Fargo, was even spotted among the crowd.

Friday Night Lights at #atxfestival

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“Thank you for coming tonight. This is amazing,” Britton said.

Katims, meanwhile, thanked the festival for staging the event on the field that holds so much meaning to the cast.

Tami Taylor (@conniebritton) has arrived! #FNLTailgate #TexasForever #ATXTVs5 by @jackieleeyoung

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This is the first time we’ve been here since doing the show. In fact, the last time that we were here was when we had a wrap party for the show. After the wrap party, some of us came out here and played a little football and had our last moment with each other,” he said. “So for some of us our very last moment doing the show was here. So thank you so much for doing it here, for coming here and being a part of this. This is really a thrill for us.”

Friday Night Lights ran for five seasons from 2006 to 11 and celebrates its 10th anniversary in October.

#cleareyesfullhearts #ATX

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Volume up y’all! You know the drill! #FNLTailgate #TelevisionForever #TexasForever #ATXTVs5

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/06/11/friday-night-lights-reunion-austin-atx/