Packers: A look inside game day weekend in Green Bay

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
GREEN BAY, WI – OCTOBER 11: A general view of Lambeau Field during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter on October 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) /

Game Day

With a noon kickoff, there’s no time to embrace the effects of the previous night. If you arrive at 9 a.m. for a noon kickoff in Green Bay, you’re late to the party.

Our house was right on Lake Michigan with a beautiful view of the water as our backyard. It’s a hustle around the house as there are seven people occupying this small lake house getting ready for the game.

The drive in from the house is the same as the day before, exit Lombardi Ave from the north. Coming from the north helps you avoid all the traffic coming from the south and Milwaukee ticket holders. I open the windows to smell the grills already fired up. Cars are already filling up the parking lots and fans are in full force.

More from Lombardi Ave

Finding parking around the stadium is easy if you don’t wish to use Lambeau Field’s parking lot. Homeowners offer their front lawns and the businesses around the stadium open their lots for parking. Since we decided to partake in Stadium View’s pre-game party, we found an easy-out lot around the corner.

Parking at roughly just after 9 a.m., we can see we are right on time for the party. The DJ at Stadium View is finishing up his set up on a stage erected where tables were the previous night.

Across the street you can hear the band from Anduzzi’s playing.  Every bar in the area is just as loud and filled as the one we are at. Our group doubled in size game day morning as my mother and friends joined us.

There are promo vendors passing out free shots and fake mustaches. The DJ is starting to hit his stride, or people are affected by adult beverages, either way, the dance floor in front of the stage is starting to fill up and the crowd is lively to say the least.

Even with a large number of Vikings fans, the crowd is still in great spirits and I spark a conversation with a Vikings fan asking about his experience in Green Bay. He tells me this is the game he comes to every year.

He has a group of friends that meet and come to Green Bay because they know they can have a good time. He said even with the hostilities on the field between teams, the fans of Green Bay are always welcoming and show them a good time. This made me proud.

I have always been proud of the fan etiquette at Packers games. We are there to support our team and have a good time. Yell and scream at the opposing team when they are on the field. Make life difficult for them in key moments.

As kickoff nears, the bar is starting to empty. There are still a few fans who haven’t had their fill of dancing yet and are deciding to stay a little longer. My wife and most of my party being some of them. But not me, I am a military man and have been for over 19 years now.

I have my own tradition of stopping at the fallen heroes armed forces memorial across the street from Lambeau Field on the other side of the street from the Hutson Center. I stop, pay my tribute and continue on my way to the game. Plus, there was no way I was missing the flyover.

As I get to my seat, player intros are concluding. The stadium is buzzing and already 99 percent full. Just the few out there still dancing at the bars. The Packers are honoring local heroes who served in World War II and fate would have it they walk down my aisle as they leave the field.

I happily and proudly shake the hands of each one of these men as they walk by, as do many of the people sitting in my area.

Waiting for the game to begin I strike up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me as we both are there alone. We become fast friends and get as loud as we can as the game is set to begin.

I won’t get into the game, we all know how that went. But the experience inside the stadium was amazing. My seats were in the north end zone, and there is not a bad seat in the house. High fives were aplenty whenever the Packers did something good, and words of encouragement when they didn’t.

In person, it’s amazing to see how fast the game moves. These men are very large and very athletic, and my 40-time from the previous day might not be good enough to be a referee. My only complaint is the Packers fans were too easily baited by Vikings fans to make noise at the wrong time.

When the game ended in a tie, most fans didn’t really know how to feel. Some were proud we didn’t lose considering how many chances the Vikings had to win in overtime. Some were upset we didn’t win considering the lead we had going into the fourth quarter.

Vikings fans were just as indifferent. But they wanted the kicker Daniel Carlson gone, and he was a day later.

But, the party didn’t stop. The bars restarted and fans began pouring in from the stadium. The DJ at Stadium View was replaced by a live band. I’m pretty sure there was a person or two that didn’t stop dancing in front of the stage from the pre-game. Don’t worry, my wife wasn’t one, she made it to the seats.

Exhausted from the higher-than-normal temps and the game, we stayed only for a little while and headed back to the house. There was a long drive ahead in the morning.

A game in Green Bay is more than Sunday. The whole town is set up for a weekend of fun and football. If you ever have the chance to attend a game, I highly suggest not turning it down.

The atmosphere around the town extends beyond the stadium. The Packers News District has many activities for all ages with a lot of fine dining. The area around the stadium is all-in on the party as well and has more to offer.

If you do it, do it right. The Atrium is full of life and things to do. The tour is worth it for the tunnel walk alone and the Hall of Fame gives you all the history you need to know in regards to the Packers. It’s very easy to embrace all things Packers and make the weekend all about the Pack.

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Just be ready to give it your all, as you will hear and need to chant “GO PACK GO”, every step of the way.