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Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend: A Day at the Event

By Victoria Barnett

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I’ve been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend two years now, and I must say it’s been a fantastic four days each year. Take a look below about my experience and what you have to look forward to if you decide to attend in future years.

Day 1: Thursday

You head to the Krassas Center for the VIP Thursday Night Reception where you are greeted with a glass of champagne and the opportunity to meet and take photos with two Pro Football Hall of Famers. John Randle and Claude Humphrey were there in 2016, and Anthony Munoz and Paul Warfield stopped by the year prior. The room is set up with round tables, and you have your choice of seat. Off to the side is an open bar, and hors d’oeuvres are available in buffet-style fashion. However, your dinner is plated and brought to you at your seat. Runaway June, the opening act for Tim McGraw, made a surprise appearance in 2016 to play a few of their songs.

Following the reception, you get on the bus to head to the Canton Civic Center for the Gold Jacket Ceremony. There are sections reserved just for you, and you’re able to have a fantastic view. The ceremony begins by welcoming home Hall of Famers, who are introduced and then create a sea of gold next to the stage. The current class is then announced one-by-one to take the stage and put on their Gold Jacket. The ceremony lasts about 2 hours.

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Day 2: Friday

Friday’s events begin later in the day with the first Official parties of the weekend. The party you attend correlates with your package type, but the Pre-Concert Legendary VIP Party was my first stop. The atmosphere is fantastic and the food is very filling. I enjoyed a tasty meal of steak, shrimp, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, fruit and a roll. Much better than your typical fare food you’ll find outside the tent! You can read more about this party here.

After the party, you take a short walk down the street to Tom Benson Stadium for the Concert for Legends. Aerosmith performed at the first Concert for Legends in 2015 while Tim McGraw performed in 2016. There is also always an opening act – in 2015 it was Living Colour and in 2016 it was Runaway June. The concert lasts about 2 ½ to 3 hours.

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Day 3: Saturday

Some of our guests start their day early by taking photos on the Enshrinement Stage. The rest of us kick off our Saturday with another one of our parties – for me, it is the Gold Jacket VIP Party. The main highlight of the party is definitely the line of returning Hall of Famers. Just imagine a sea of people lined up to meet and take photos with these Gold Jackets. You can learn more about this party here.

Following the party, you head to Tom Benson Stadium for the Enshrinement Ceremony. I was able to line up with other guests of ours for the Gold Jacket Walk – we have a front line view to see returning Hall of Famers make their way to the Enshrinement Stage.

At the ceremony, you first welcome back all the returning Hall of Famers who are seated on stage. Then, everyone settles in for the current class to unveil their busts and give their speeches. You never really know how long the ceremony will last because the number of members and length of speeches vary each year. In 2016, the ceremony finished up around 11 pm. You can learn more about this event here.

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Day 4: Sunday

The final day! Sunday is certainly the longest day – it has so many activities. Your day (and mine as well) likely starts when the sun comes up as you head to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for breakfast and early admission to the Hall of Fame. You are able to see the new class’ busts before anyone else, which is awesome.

Thankfully, you are able to catch a quick cat nap at the hotel before the next event, the Game Day Roundtable Luncheon. You join the current class for a seated lunch at the Canton Civic Center – this is really your first glimpse at the new Hall of Famers. You then head to the actual Game Day Roundtable where the Hall of Famers answer questions from the moderator and tell stories about their careers.

If you are one of the lucky ones, you’ll head to the Autograph Session afterwards. This is easily the best part of the weekend – you get to have the current class sign your favorite memorabilia. Learn more about the events with the current class here.

The day continues with another party – in my case, I head to the Gold Jacket VIP Tailgate Party for most of the time. At this party, you are once again greeted with returning Hall of Famers who you can meet and take pictures with. Learn more about this party here.

After the party, you’ll head to the NFL/Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Stadium. The 2015 game featured a matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was perfect since the majority of people there were Steelers fans. The game is a great way to wrap up the entire weekend.

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Be a Part of this Experience in 2017

So there you have it – my four days at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Does this sound like something you want to be a part of? It’s one of the most fun trips I have been on; there is so much to do and there are so many awesome people you get to meet and hang out with. Don’t miss out on celebrating the Class of 2017! See you next year!

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