With a recovering fan base that slowly warms to the blossoming franchise, the Chicago Bears decided to take full advantage of the amiableness and hosted a community event, a party of sorts, to kick off their training camp this past Friday. Nick-named the “Friday Nights Lights Fest”, the tailgate-themed event took place in the BrickStone Brewery Production Facility, in Bourbonnais, the home for Bears training camp since 2006.

Presented by the wonderful people at Bear construction in tandem with the village of Bourbonnais, the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Completely open to the public, tickets cost only two dollars, whether at the gate or from online. Kankakee County food and drink mainstays will on deck. More exclusive offers had been available for those willing, with 250 fifty dollar tickets granting access into the brewery, topped with more dining and beverage options than general admission.

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This event featured opportunities for a multitude of autographs and a spectacular mascot race. A seven on seven flag football had also been held, manned by Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School players and coached by Super Bowl champions and home-cooked Kankakee alum with former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and former Pittsburgh Steeler offensive lineman Ted Petersen helming the squads.

“This will be a celebration of the community and a celebration of the Chicago Bears,” said chamber director Barbi Brewer-Watson. “We believe this is going to be a community pep rally. We want to invite the community to help us celebrate.”

With the harsh decline of the usual kick-off event, simply a pleasant dinner held at Olivet Nazarene University inviting only around 400, launching training camp with a genuine community festival will do wonders for the Bears as they start to wiggle their way back into the city’s heart after so many disappointing seasons. Bears football hasn’t seen its peak in a long while and with so many frustrated fans, starting the season with such a warm-hearted celebration looks great.

Next step-winning some football games.

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