FOR ENTERTAINMENT IN GREEN BAY, IS IT THE PACKERS AND NOTHING ELSE?
Let me first inform the reader that I’ve been a Green Bay Packer fan since around the Ice Bowl. Perhaps the fact that those two special people who brought me into this world attended that legendary game, and their love and joy for GB over the years has certainly added to my passion and desire to unequivocally cheer, “Go Pack Go!”
Many years later, and living in Bear country, the majority of publicity in Illinois about Green Bay or Wisconsin is not always positive. If the Packers do well and win the division, the digs or insults from Bears’ fans can get a little more personal and if the Packers play in the NFC Championship or Super Bowl, all bets are off.
Sometimes, in Chicago, days before the big game between the Bears and Packers, in print or on sports radio, you may read or hear that there is nothing to do in Green Bay besides football. Or, Chicagoans may say, all they do in Wisconsin is hunt. When I hear this, I wonder if these sports’ radio hosts or sports’ writers have recently spent any quality time in Titletown? Would time spent there help refute some of their prejudices or biases about Green Bay in the 21st century? Also, from the Land of Lincoln, you may also hear “shots” against the big women in Wisconsin even though both states have comparable obesity rates but I once read, “Ignorance is bliss” so that is noted.
If you show these fans and sports professionals the variety of activities and culture in and around Green Bay, would they be open enough to deviate from their current position? Or, are their mind made up about Green Bay and Cheeseland? Is it because it lacks the cosmopolitan flair of a big city?
It’s critical to do some research and analysis on outsiders to see if there’s more than a kernel of truth on what they say about nothing going on in GB besides football activities. First, you have to ignore 10 NFL games per year from consideration and even if you don’t get tickets to an actual game, Lambeau Field stadium tours are also excluded from consideration. In addition, the Packer Hall of Fame illustrates why this organization is so special and considered Titletown USA – another option to exclude as it’s football related. After a little research, I realized there is a Walk of Fame through part of Green Bay – it’s part culture and part football so that too needs to be excluded.
I’m not a gambler but there’s the Oneida Bingo & Casino which features blackjack tables, high-stakes bingo and 2,800 slot and video machines. It’s smokey and loud but can be a fun diversion for some who are looking for that sort of thing.
If you prefer books to slots, this community has several libraries throughout the area if one is interested in taking a more quiet approach at times and be assured, Packer lore will not be mandatory reading in any of these building where they’ve accumulated books, research and much valuable information.
There’s the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay’s campus if you’re interested in collegiate basketball or other sports. The campus also contains non-sports related activities such as foreign films, concerts, cultural events and special lecturers. It’s not always well publicized but many of these events are inexpensive and available to the public.
Shifting to some outdoor activities, the Green Bay Botanical Garden is designed to provide interest with display gardens that capture the beauty of northeastern Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons.
Fishing can be done on ice or on water so another option for someone to deviate from the gridiron madness. Up the road, you can travel to Door County for days of golf, relaxation, sailing, bicycling, camping or just hanging out. Some call it the Cape Cod of the Midwest – it’s a nice get away from Green Bay or from other areas in the Midwest – it’s interesting that many Chicagoans love the place.
For another outdoor activity, there’s a 700-acre wildlife refuge that features trails, as well as educational and live animal exhibits. Another nature area is called Barkhausen and has a waterfowl preserve containing over 900 acres.
Other outdoor activities in the Green Bay area include the Heritage Hill State Historical Park and the New Zoo.
If the weather does not cooperate, there are other options indoor options. This includes the Meyer Theater, Resch Aquatic Center, National Railroad Museum, Neville Public Museum and Children’s Museum of Green Bay.
A short get away from Green Bay and local residents is the Fox Valley which is about 30 miles away. That area has a population of over s a population of over 385,000 inhabitants and provides additional culture, charm and events for those who want a little different venue than Green Bay. Mind you, the distance of 30 miles might be less than the distance Bears’ fans travel one-way to Soldier Field to see their favorite team play
I suggest journalists or broadcasters who paint with a broad brush or prejudge the area do their homework next time before voicing their opinion. Otherwise, their ignorance shows.
If you can’t say anything nice about the town, I’d suggest focusing on what occurs inside Soldier Field, Metlife Stadium or Lambeau Field. Focus on the organizations, their philosophy on building a football team, or the history of the franchise. Focus on the match-ups and how the coaches will attack each other’s offense, defense and special teams. Once the game is over, we can talk about the winners and losers and keep the discussion about the x’s and o’s.