Canton, Ohio is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and well, me! Along with the Hall of Fame, comes an annual Enshrinement Festival complete with two weeks of fireworks, concerts, competitions, parades, and other events. Don’t be fooled by the football aspect of the Enshrinement Festival – you don’t have to know the game to love it. In fact, my favorite activity is a launch of hot air balloons. Really, whether you love football or hate it, this festival is one the entire county looks forward to each year.
I had posted previously that I enjoy volunteering in my community and hoped to be a part of the festival in one shape or form (fun fact – I got introduced to volunteering for the festival during my internship, when the radio station I represented, sponsored it). And this year, I did volunteer quite a bit – setting up for the Ribs Burn-Off and serving drinks a few days later at the same event. I even entered a number of photos in the Annual Photo Contest the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored. Overall, I had a lot of fun.
For those of you who follow the NFL know that the lock-out caused a bit of trouble this year’s festivities. A big draw to the festival is the Hall of Fame Football Game, bringing fans from across the country to Canton. This year, the football game was canceled.
Since I’m not that big into football, this wasn’t a blow to me. I’m perfectly happy enjoying hot air balloons, but to the die-hard football fans across the country, this was heartbreaking. Many local businesses count on the extra consumers that come to visit for the game.
But you know what? People still came to the festival. Some stayed for the full two weeks and locals like me appreciated the event just as much as previous years. Men and women traveled to Canton to watch football players they’ve idolized earn a major achievement, and like all the years prior, they stood behind the Hall of Fame’s mission and appreciated each and every minute.
Game or no game, this was a year I’ll remember!