Thunderstorms ended activities early at Saturday’s Green Bay Packers Family Night, but fans were allowed back in the stadium bowl more than an hour later for a jersey giveaway and fireworks show.
“It’s for the safety of the players,” Pat Anderson of Shawano said after looming rain forced players to leave the field after about 25 minutes of practice. Fans were told to wait in the Lambeau Field concourse for the showers to let up. So that’s what Anderson did, in between bites of popcorn. “They don’t need to be out there in this rain for no reason. I’m just glad football’s back,” he said.
More than 43,000 fans attended the event, compared with about 48,000 last year, Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said.
Ryan Bures, 21, of Oshkosh said he wanted the team to play through the rain for the scheduled two hours.
“We’re Packers fans. We can handle some rain. We can handle snow, we can handle hail. That’s what we’re known for.”
The Green Bay area received 0.42 inches of rain beginning at 7:54 p.m., said Roy Eckberg, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon.
The annual Family Night, presented by Bellin, has a history of weather problems. Lightning delayed the event in 2008 and canceled it in 2009.
Before the event, the Packers organization said no refunds would be issued unless all stadium activities — from 5:30 p.m. until the end of the fireworks show — were canceled. Tickets were $10.
Many fans said they were disappointed about the early finish, but they still had a good time. Some fans in the concourse chanted, “Go, Pack, Go,” used paper fans to sword fight, played catch with popcorn and even tossed a beach ball high in the air.
After the rain stopped, fans were let back into the stadium bowl and treated to a fireworks show. Twenty lucky fans received jerseys players wore during the brief practice.
Earlier in the day, 90 fans were randomly selected to receive a custom No. 1 Packers green jersey with the word Packers on the back. A presentation was held on the field.
Nelson Wahl, 8, of Cadott was quick to put his jersey on and said he was excited he got to stand next to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
His dad Tom Wahl also received a jersey and said he got to shake linebacker A.J. Hawk’s hand.
“It’s just one of those father-son moments you’ll remember forever,” he said. “It just shows how special this organization is. You always hear that, but I experienced it today.”
— firstname.lastname@example.org and |follow him on Twitter @pgcharlesdavis.