LAMBEAU FIELD PREPARED FOR ANNUAL FAN PILGRIMAGE
Green Bay Packers players have been checking in this week and preparing for the 61st edition of Packers training camp which opens with an evening practice Friday night on Clarke Hinkle Field.
Packers fans also are coming to Green Bay, making their annual pilgrimage to soak in all that is offered at Lambeau Field during the next four weeks, including practices, the Lambeau Field Atrium, the Packers Hall of Fame, Lambeau Field Stadium Tours, the Packers Experience and the Packers Pro Shop. Camp runs through Aug. 26.
Training camp attracts an estimated 111,000 visitors from across the nation and as many as 20 foreign countries, according to the Packer Country Visitor and Convention Bureau. A boon for area businesses, the economic impact is estimated at $66 million. The Packer Country VCB partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's Professional Programs in Business Administration for a survey last summer to provide an updated economic study of training camp.
A perfect visitors' guide to training camp, www.packerstrainingcamp.com is available online with daily schedules and other information. Also, a matrix message board affixed to the Hutson Center will display practice times, Atrium information and scheduled activities. A Fan Assistance Kiosk will be located at the north end of the practice field for fan inquiries. A complimentary camp guide, along with editions of the Green Bay Press-Gazette and Appleton Post-Crescent, will be available daily at practice. Information on practice times, Lambeau Field Atrium offerings and the Packers Experience schedule is included.
Among the highlights for fans is having the opportunity to interact with players, and new for this year is the "Future Lambeau Leapers" area, designed specifically for fans ages 12 and younger. The area will give kids the chance to meet players, shake their hands, and potentially get autographs after practice. The new area will replace the formal autograph tables the Packers had used in recent years. It will be located on the south side of the Oneida Nation Gate at Lambeau Field. Eight to 10 players will appear in the area for approximately 20 or 30 minutes following the first practice of the day (either the 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. workout). The team's security department will closely monitor and facilitate the area.
The Packers Experience, a popular interactive games area that drew more than 22,000 kids in 2005, returns for its third summer at historic Lambeau Field in the concourse area, adjacent to the Atrium. From July 28 through Aug. 26, fans can access the Packers Experience through the Atrium's Miller Brewing Company Gate off Lombardi Avenue at the north end of Lambeau Field. It is FREE to the public and open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, with some exceptions. All children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult or guardian to enter the Packers Experience area. A signed waiver of liability by the minor's parent or legal guardian is required upon entering and may be downloaded from www.packerstrainingcamp.com and signed in advance to present upon entering. This area will not be open on Aug. 5-6, 13, 19-20 to accommodate Family Night, preseason home games and other stadium activities.
The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame again will be a destination of choice for thousands of training camp attendees this summer. It's time to rediscover the Hall as several displays have been updated, including the addition of Reggie White's locker to the area featuring the team's players that are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many new films have been added to the mix, too. More than 27,000 fans went through the Hall during camp in 2005. Its extended training camp hours are 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily (920/569-7512 hotline). Lambeau Field Stadium Tours, which drew almost 26,000 fans during last summer's camp, features expanded hours during as well: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Ticket sales begin at 8 a.m. (920/569-7513 hotline).
The Packers Pro Shop also features extending training camp hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays (800/992-5750 hotline).
Additionally, the Lambeau Field Atrium will be open to visitors and contains seven dining options, including Curly's Pub, Hall of Fame Grill and Frozen in Time, plus four eateries. Check www.packerstrainingcamp.com for hours of operation.