UNTIL MY SECOND DAUGHTER moved to Wisconsin a year ago, I never realized how fanatical Wisconsinites are about their Packers. Suffice to say that football doesn’t interest me, nor do sports for that matter, which would explain my ignorance on this topic.
But once I grasped the importance of the Green Bay Packers to Wisconsin residents, I decided to make my own sport of this football fanaticism by documenting Packers mania. Now, on every trip across the state to Appleton on Wisconsin’s eastern side, I pull out my camera and scout for signs of Packers craziness. And I mean signs. Literally.
Look at the three billboards I photographed along Wisconsin State Highway 21 and U.S. Highway 41 New Year’s weekend.
Driving through the community of Wautoma, where my cousin Bev, a former Minnesotan, lives, I spotted these neighboring houses.
Now, since I didn’t stop to ask the homeowners, I am uncertain whether these green and gold houses truly symbolize team loyalty or whether the paint color choices were totally based on individual hue preferences. What would you guess? I’d go with the gold as representing the Packers and the green as representing personal color preference.
Walk into almost any Wisconsin business, and you’ll likely see Packers merchandise. At Lamers Dairy in Appleton, where bottled milk is sold along with plenty of Wisconsin cheese, I found Game Time Kettle Korn. I also saw an employee wearing purple. Oh, don’t for a second think it was a Vikings t-shirt. The college freshman was sporting a Winona State University shirt, having crossed into Vikings land for his higher education.
Studio 213, a downtown Appleton business featuring art, handcrafted items and collectibles, yielded customized Bears traps meant to be set by Packers fans.
And then, of course, Packers jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, jackets and more seem to define Wisconsin fashion. If you want to blend in with the locals, simply slip into Packers attire. They’ll never suspect you’re from Minnesota…
One more tip: Best travel time through Wisconsin is during a Packers game.
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling