Approximately 500 fans were on hand Wednesday night on the shores of Lake Superior – also known as “Gitche Gumee” – at Ashland’s Bay Area Civic Center for the tailgate party to benefit BAYNET, which stands for Bay Area Youth Network.

The mission of the organization, which was founded in 1999, is “Changing Lives to Change the World,” and it believes that each student is precious and born with a purpose. Through event hosting, mentoring, networking and partnering with area schools, churches and other youth organizations, BAYNET aims to provide students with a better platform to make the best life choices possible.

BAYNET’s executive director, Joe Mousseau, was very excited about the event and the energy it created for the organization.

“The community came together,” he explained. “Through their support, people are showing their love and are being friendly. We were able to create new relationships and more awareness for the organization, which have opened more doors for us.”

The event featured a spirited question-and-answer session with fans who were curious to hear from Mark Murphy and the players about the team and the upcoming season. Topics ranged from Lambeau Field and season tickets to free agency, the draft and the depth chart. After a few questions about the cornerback position, Murphy had a question for the fans.

“Do people here in Ashland study cornerbacks?” he asked, which prompted much laughter from the crowd.

Ryan Longwell also picked up on the seriousness of some of the questioners.

“The first four questions were two-parters,” Longwell noted. “We knew there were going to be some serious questions after that.”

Perhaps the football acumen of the crowd could be traced back to one of the town’s own, Milt “Moose” Gardner, a guard who played for the Packers from 1922 to 1926 and was one of the team’s best linemen in the early years.

Day 3 is on tap.