Preparing for the Packers

ESCANABA – Packer fans will have a special opportunity to get close to the stars of the field when the Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour stops in Escanaba next month to benefit Lakestate Industries.

“We are just extremely excited about the entire event and the opportunity we’ve been given,” said Cheryl Ohman, Lakestate Industries executive director.

Lakestate Industries is a private, non-profit agency that provides people with barriers to employment vocational and career exploration, work training, job services, and paying jobs at both the Lakestate Industry facility and at businesses throughout the community.

Money raised by the event will be used for equipment upgrades, building improvements, and to help Lakestate Industries serve more people.

“Some of our equipment is getting older and needs to be upgraded. It’s just wearing out,” said Ohman.

Currently the Escanaba facility serves almost 200 people in the community. A second facility was opened in July in Marquette, which now serves nearly 100 people. Money raised by the Packers Tailgate Tour will be used locally for the needs of the Escanaba facility.

During the tour, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy and current and past players Jarret Bush, Brad Jones, Mason Crosby, Paul Coffman, Lynn Dickey, and James Lofton will be traveling to three cities in Wisconsin and two Upper Peninsula cities in a bus emblazoned with the Green Bay Packers Tailgate logo.

The bus will make the first official stop on the tour in Escanaba on April 15. Other tour stops are Ironwood on April 16; Superior, Wis. on April 17, Rice Lake, Wis. on April 18; and Merrill, Wis. on April 19. Tailgate parties will be held in each city on the tour to support a local non-profit.

One of the event’s local sponsors is the Daily Press.

“We’re proud to be a part of such a worthwhile event,” said Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald.

One hundred percent of the profits raised by the event will go to supporting Lakestate Industries.

“Yeah, it’s a great fundraiser for us, but to me it’s just a great community event,” said Ohman.

The events will kick off with a special VIP only event for sponsors at the Island Resort and Casino starting at 4:30 p.m. and running until 5:30 p.m. Guests of the event must have purchased a “Lakestate MVP” platinum level sponsorship for $5,000, a “Lakestate Champion” gold level sponsorship for $2,500, or a “Lakestate Supporter” silver level sponsorship for $1,000.

“The VIP reception is pretty much sold out at this point,” said Ohman, adding the Green Bay Packers preferred to only have 100 guests at the event.

A second event will take place at the Ruth Butler Building at the U.P. State Fair Grounds in Escanaba. Doors will open to the tailgate party event at 4 p.m. and the visiting Packers will arrive at 6 p.m.

Until the Packers make their way to the fairgrounds, guests will have access to food provided by Elmer’s County Market, beer from the Bark River Lions Club, games, a photo booth, and merchandise.

“We’ll be doing a silent auction, a bucket raffle, and a live auction,” said Ohman.

A football drop will also take place at the event. Guests can purchase a numbered football that will be suspended in a net over a carpet market like a football field. The person whose ball lands closest to the 50-yard line will receive half of the money collected for the football drop.

At 6:30 p.m. there will be a question and answer period. Following questions, the Packers will line up for autographs for guests who have purchased the correct level event ticket.

Tickets including food, two drinks, a commemorative tailgate tour poster, and autographs from the Packers are $30. General admission tickets are also available for $5. Tickets for the event are available at the Island Resort and Casino or online at www.islandresortandcasino.com.

For companies who are interested in sponsoring the event, bronze level “Lakestate Backer” sponsorships are still available at the $500 level and copper level “Lakestate Fan” sponsorships are still available at the $100 level. Bronze level sponsorships come with the sponsoring company’s name on the poster and in the program as well as five $30 level tickets to the tailgate party. Copper level sponsorships come with the sponsoring company’s name in the program and one $30 level tailgate party ticket. All sponsorships must be purchased by Thursday, Feb. 27.

For more information about Lakestate Industries, Inc., visit www.lakestateindustries.org.