The roster is set. The stadium is ready. On Thursday night, there was only one thing left to do – dye the Downtown Canal blue.
"The bluing of the canal has been taking place for several years now," said Stephanie Pemberton, Vice President of Marketing for the Colts. "Tomorrow is our first Blue Friday of the season and it's an opportunity for us to start the celebration, start the excitement for the big game this weekend."
On Sunday, the Colts kick off the 2018 season against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium. And that means it's time to paint the town blue.
Fun candid images from the Colts annual "Blueing of the Canal!"
"This is a good indicator that it's Colts time of year again," said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. "As mayor, it's a great time of year – kicking off the Colts season, celebrating the 35th year of the Colts being here in the city of Indianapolis."
Joining the mayor were Colts cheerleaders, Colts mascot, Blue, and season ticket members that date back to the 1984 season.
"It was a special addition to our honorary pourers this year," Pemberton said. "We are celebrating 35 seasons and having those 1984 season ticket members that have literally been with us from the beginning, we want to provide every opportunity for them to celebrate this incredible year and anniversary with us."
For Jackie and Chuck Wolf, it was a fun and unique way to help kick off the season.
"I am very honored," said Jackie. "I love the Colts and I love anything to do with the Colts and I can't wait for Sunday to come."
Keith Ward brought his daughter, Kimberly, and his 6-year-old granddaughter, Karissa.
"We enjoyed it," he said. "It was a lot of fun."
But no one had more fun than Karissa, who's been going to Colts games for as long as she can remember.
"Just to see her face light up when she saw Blue and the cheerleaders, I think it really goes to show that we have been here for 35 seasons and we have new generations that are Colts fans through and through and know nothing else but the Colts," said Pemberton.
For many fans today, it's hard to picture Indianapolis without the Colts. But Hogsett remembers – in fact, he was at the first Colts game in Indianapolis.
"They played the Jets, it was a very close, competitive game. I'll never forget the standing room only crowd in what we then called the Hoosier Dome, later the RCA Dome, now we're at Lucas Oil. It brings back great memories of a season that really was transformative for our city," he said.
Over 35 seasons, the Colts made Indiana into a football state and turned Naptown into a Super City.
"The truth is, when you're a city with an NFL franchise, that puts you on a little different level and in a little different position vis-a-vis your peer cities who may not have professional sports franchises," he said. "To have the Colts here and coming back for their 35th year has helped Indianapolis in so many ways and made us a major league city throughout the country."
As the 35th season kicks off, Hogsett is optimistic about the future.
"It's a great time to be a Colts fan and I'm looking forward to a victory on Sunday," he said. "I think game day is so exciting for all the fans. I'm sure that Sunday will be a great way to kick off this season."
For Colts fans, the wait is almost over.
On Thursday night, the water in the canal was blue – the final clue.
"The message goes forth," Hogsett laughed.
The Colts are ready to kick off a new season and a new chapter in Indianapolis.
And they want you to be a part of it.
To join the Colts family as a season ticket member or to buy tickets to Sunday's home opener, go to: https://www.colts.com/tickets/.