Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A peek at Wisconsin’s Packers obsession on game day against the Vikings January 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:15 AM
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I PERHAPS SHOULD NOT even publish this post, being a Minnesotan and a Minnesotan who does not watch football.

But even I can’t ignore all the hype about the big play-off game this evening between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.

Have I watched a football game yet this season? No.

Have I watched a single sporting event yet this season? Yes, I did watch parts of the summer Olympics.

Within that context, you might rightly surmise that I don’t care much about sports. While I can appreciate an individual athlete’s talent, sports as entertainment (for some, but not me), and the value of athletics in teaching discipline and teamwork and in making for a good physical work-out, I dislike the adulation of/obsession with athletes in our sports-crazed world.

Father and daughter Green Bay Packers fans from Appleton. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Father and daughter Green Bay Packers fans from Appleton. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

That segues us right into Wisconsin. Not until my second daughter moved to Appleton, 30 miles south of Green Bay, two years ago, did I understand just how devoted/obsessed/crazed Wisconsinites are about their Packers, but in a fun-loving sort of way.

For example, when my husband and I shopped at Appleton’s Festival Foods last October, the day before a Packers game, we came across a display of gold and green brat buns. We ¬†just stood there and laughed and I wished I’d had my camera. Next time I’m buying some of those Packers buns and sneaking them into Minnesota. That would be easier than trying to do a food photo shoot at Festival Foods.

If you check out the Festival Foods’ website, you will note that the website colors are, not surprisingly, green and gold.

Game Time Kettle Korn. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Game Time Kettle Korn. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

A year ago, while shopping at Lamers Dairy in Appleton, I spied Game Time Kettle Korn, dyed green and gold, of course.

Packers fans houses in Wautoma? Or simply a gold house and a green house?

Packers fans houses in Wautoma? Or simply a gold house and a green house? Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

And then there are the two neighboring houses in Wautoma, which is west of Oshkosh. I still wonder whether those houses were painted green and gold because of the Packers or because the homeowners especially like those colors. I’d have to vote for the Packers connection.

Near Omro along Wisconsin Highway 21, I saw this Packers-themed BEEF-FENSE! sign for McDonalds.

Near Omro along Wisconsin Highway 21, I saw this Packers-themed BEEF-FENSE! sign for McDonalds earlier last year. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Billboards offer another prime venue for Wisconsinites to express their devotion to the Packers.

A tribute to Aaron Rodgers.

A tribute to Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

But perhaps the most creative public display of Packers support is along Wisconsin Highway 10 west of Appleton near the New London exit. Here, on a highly-visible barn, you’ll discover a tribute to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. We spotted that Packers notation last trip since we, once again, skirted the unending road construction on U.S. Highway 41 between Oshkosh and Appleton (and around Green Bay; be forewarned).

So, you see, as much as I don’t care about football, I find Wisconsin’s devotion to the Packers both amusing and entertaining.

Icy cold beer served up in a Minnesota Vikings mug.

Icy cold beer chilling in a snowbank in my Minnesota backyard. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Go, Vikings!

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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