MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As college basketball fans get pumped for the NCAA Tournament, downtown Minneapolis is turning up the madness. We’re now just 20 days away from the Final Four.

A giant bracket has been set up outside the IDS Center on 8th Street and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. It’s one of several fan experiences for people to check out Final Four weekend.

Most of the fun is along Nicollet between 8th and 12th Streets, for what’s being called the Tip-Off Tailgate. On 10th Street, you can ride a giant 10-story tall Ferris wheel. A block up on 11th — outside our WCCO studios — is a stage with live music.

The best part is that all these attractions are free.

“This is really a weekend for all Minnesotans to come and enjoy the pure joy of college sports,” Kate Mortenson, with the Final Four organizing committee, said. “These student athletes have worked hard. We are ready to welcome them with a wonderful, warm Minnesota welcome.”

On Friday, March 29, you can get to U.S. Bank Stadium for free to check out the teams’ open practices. On Sunday, there is also a free basketball parade for kids.

You do need to preregister, but kids will get a basketball and T-shirt. Click here for information on the Fan Fest.

Also, security bag rules will be enforced at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Convention Center, but you can pick up one of these clear plastic Final Four bags throughout downtown for free.

Here is a link for the full schedule of events.

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