Green Bay and the Packers will kick off a weekend of celebrating the return of football with a mix of musical performers and a “championship moment” that’ll be punctuated by the traditional season-opening fireworks display.

“Our theme is ‘Back to Football.’ We used it last year but we brought it back this year. We think it’s very apropos. We’re very excited about being in Green Bay, with a storied franchise and at Lambeau Field,” Lawrence Randall said.

Randall is the NFL’s director of “Kickoff Weekend” festivities, which will begin on Thursday, Sept. 8, for the Packers-Saints game at Lambeau Field. A special 9-11 tribute is planned for the games on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Thursday’s league opener will pit the last two Super Bowl champions, and Randall is especially pleased by that matchup.

“Like every fan, we sit on the edge of our seat in anticipation,” he said.

Randall’s seat, of course, has an extra sharp edge to it, since he’s the guy who’s put the whole show together. It’s a show that’ll feature musicians Kid Rock, Maroon 5 and Lady Antebellum.

“We try to bring in the best acts we can. The NFL has such a diverse audience. Kid Rock is for rock, Maroon 5 is pop and Lady Antebellum is country. Kid Rock, we know, is close to the Packers. He played at the Packers’ party after the Super Bowl,” Randall said.

“They’ll perform adjacent to Lambeau Field. We’re setting our big stage up at Oneida St. Green Bay will get their moment in the national spotlight.”

The crowning moment of the night’s festivities will be its “Championship Moment Celebration.”

“It’s become a tradition for the kickoff game. It’s recognition of the team and its fans,” he said.

Fireworks will then light the skies above Lambeau Field, and then Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees will do the same in what is expected to be one of the premier passing exhibitions of the 2011 season.

Event festivities open to the public at 3:15 p.m. CT. Fans may enter the concert site from Holmgren Way and may view the performances along Armed Forces Dr. The concert is free; there are no tickets for it.

The concert begins at 5:30 p.m. CT and is expected to conclude by 6:30 p.m. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m.

Fans not planning to attend the game may register at www.1iota.com to have a chance to be part of the casted audience for a live TV segment leading into the kickoff to the game.