Thousands of Packers fans and holiday enthusiasts made their way to the Lambeau Field Atrium Saturday, Dec. 4, to help ring in the holiday season as the Green Bay Packers and Festival Foods celebrated the fifth annual ‘Festival of Lights’.
Saturday’s main event, the lighting of Harlan Plaza’s chosen Christmas tree, was not the only holiday festivity in store for attending guests.
Before the switch was turned on to activate the 15,000 Christmas tree lights, supplied by Mills Fleet Farm, attending guests had plenty of holiday activities to enjoy.
The festivities got underway in the Lambeau Field Atrium as guests were treated to musical performances from the Kewaunee High School and Mosinee High School Cantabile Choirs, and holiday activities such as cookie decorating, holiday movies and cartoons, card making, and a special visit from Santa Claus.
Mosinee High School choir director Carla Dul was especially pleased to have her choir partake in the Packers holiday festivities.
“We’re big Packers fans in Mosinee,” Dul said. “A lot of my students have never been to Lambeau Field so this was truly thrilling for them to come to the Atrium to perform and just be a part of something related to the Packers and to represent central Wisconsin. I don’t think too many choirs get this opportunity so we are very thankful for tonight.
“Everyone had a great time tonight. The kids love to sing and love having other people, outside of our home town, hear them.”
In its fifth year, the Green Bay Packers and Festival Foods partnership proved to be a success once again.
“I’m very impressed with tonight’s turnout, and almost a bit surprised,” Festival Foods’ President Mark Skogen said. “I almost couldn’t find a parking spot when I pulled in tonight. I think everyone is ready to get in the holiday spirit, and the nice weather definitely helps.
“The Packers are a well-respected organization, everyone thinks highly of them, so it is nice when we can be affiliated with anything to do with the Packers. We are a family business and this is a family event, the Packers are very much a family-oriented organization so I think this is a good match for all of us.”
Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy was pleased with this year’s turnout and was glad to see everyone enjoying the holiday festivities.
“The last couple of years, it has been frigid here,” Murphy said. “Although tonight’s temperature is a little below freezing, it was the best turnout in the three years I have been here.
“The whole event is such a great thing for the community and a great way for us to partner with Festival Foods. And really, I can’t imagine too many NFL teams do such an event like this with their fans.”
Susan Joppe, of Green Bay, was the lucky fan chosen to display her tree on Harlan Plaza and ring in the holiday season with all those who visit Lambeau Field. As the tree continued to tower over her house, Joppe knew it was time for it to come down and hoped all year that she might be chosen to display her tree at Lambeau.
“When I first moved into my house in 1994, the tree was maybe five feet tall,” Joppe said. “Since then, it has grown taller than my house and unfortunately, it was time to take it down. After hearing about the Packers’ search for a Christmas tree last year, I knew my tree would be a perfect fit.”
This past Monday, the tree was harvested from Joppe’s front lawn and brought to Lambeau Field for the more-than-a-mile-long string of lights decoration process.
Joppe, in recognition of providing the tree for the event, will receive four tickets to the Packers-Giants game Dec. 26.