The new Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, which opened in the Lambeau Field Atrium last September, Monday welcomed its 100,000th visitor.
Rachel Raeck, 8, of Negaunee, Mich., passed through the entrance at roughly 10 a.m. this morning. She was touring the Hall with a group of children from Children's Discovery Center, a day care center in Appleton, Wis. Rachel is visiting her father, Norm, who lives in Appleton, about 30 miles south of Green Bay.
"It was neat that I was that person," said Rachel, a Packers fan. "I wasn't sure what it was all about at first, but then they told me."
In becoming the 100,000th visitor to the new Hall of Fame, Rachel received a lifetime pass, a Brett Favre autographed cap, two Green Bay Packers T-shirts and Packers pom-poms. A plaque with Rachel's picture commemorating her special stature also will adorn a wall near the Hall's entrance. In addition, the entire day care group was also treated to ice cream at Frozen in Time Ice Cream, located in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
"I like Brett Favre, so I really like the hat," she said of one of her gifts.
Later, after touring the Hall of Fame, Rachel said she hopes to bring her dad to the Hall the next time she comes to visit him. She also hopes to one day see a Packers game.
Since opening at its new location in the Lambeau Field Atrium Sept. 8, 2004, the Hall of Fame has received rave reviews from fans and has welcomed visitors from all over the country.
"Today was a great day for the new Hall of Fame," said Steve Klegon, director of Lambeau Field Atrium business development. "The enthusiasm the Lambeau Field Atrium has generated has been awesome. To get over 100,000 visitors to the Hall of Fame in a partial year is outstanding. The Hall has been busy and the stadium tours have been tremendously popular as well, so Packers fans are definitely coming in and seeing what the redeveloped Lambeau Field has to offer."
Overall, since opening in 1976 and including its previous location across the street from Lambeau Field, the Packers Hall of Fame has welcomed more than 2.2 million visitors. This is the fourth year the Hall of Fame has seen more than 100,000 people pass through its doors (also 1996, '97 and '98). The Packers Hall of Fame welcomed its most visitors in 1997 - more than 259,000 - and surpassed that year's attendance at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.