By Devon Cavic —

Menomonie, Wisconsin is in the heart of Packer country. Wisconsin fans are devoted and proud no matter what the sport, but there is a special connection to the Packers because they are a community-owned franchise. To show their appreciation, the Packers like to give back to their fans in ways other than winning Super Bowls. On April 14 the Packers will make their first stop on the Tailgate Tour, right here in Menomonie.

The event will be held from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dunn County Ice Arena. President and CEO Mark Murphy will be in attendance, along with current players Andrew Quarless, Micah Hyde, Casey Hayward and Packers alumni Gilbert Brown, Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder.  Special guests Dave Robinson and Jerry Kramer will also make an appearance in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Tailgate Tour.

The Tailgate Tour rolls into different Wisconsin towns every year. The events not only give back to the fans, but one non-profit is chosen in each town to plan the entire event and receive 100 percent of the proceeds. In Menomonie, the Bridge to Hope received this honor.

“As far as I understand it, they wanted to know different non-profits in Menomonie and then they chose our organization,” said Shawna Clough the services and volunteer coordinator at Bridge to Hope. “They reached out to us. We didn’t reach out to them, so that was really cool.”

Bridge to Hope serves victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking in Dunn and Pepin counties.

Bridge to Hope was contacted by the Packers last fall. Since then there has been a whirlwind of activity putting together a committee and planning every detail of the fundraiser. The Packers provide certain restrictions and guidelines allowing the rest of the event to be planned by the chosen non-profit.

“We had a lot of freedom in the beginning to kind of take it in any direction that we wanted to,” Clough said. “It’s actually been going really smoothly because of the awesome people we have.”

The event is family friendly, and young kids will have the opportunity to work with local football teams doing skill drills. There will be a Q-and-A session with the players. Local businesses will be present with vendor booths, food, beverages and merchandise for sale. Tickets for a bucket raffle and a stretch raffle will be available with great prizes including Packers tickets, Brewers tickets, signed memorabilia and Country Jam tickets.

Support the Bridge to Hope, show off your green and gold pride by going to the Dunn County Ice Arena on April 14 and give the Packers a reason to remember their stop in Menomonie.

Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased ahead of time at local Cenex stations, on thebridgetohope.org or on the day of the event at the door.


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