Thanks so much to Laura Weisskopf Bleill (a fabulous former sportswriter) for sharing this with us. Laura is one of the co-founders of chambanamoms.com, a great resource for families in the Champaign-Urbana area. If you have friends or family in that neck of the woods, please make sure they know about chambanamoms.com.
Does your family love the Chicago Bears? Can you hardly wait til the NFL season begins? Then you'll want to know how you can catch a glimpse of the Chicago Bears this preseason: head down Interstate 57 to Bourbonnais and watch some Bears training camp. Admission and parking are free!
Here’s how: Beginning last Thursday, the Bears took up residence at their preseason training facility on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. Practice times vary between 2 and 2:30 p.m., with a couple of 7 p.m. times. They will be on campus most days through the end of training camp, with the last practice open to the public on August 17. (Here is a link to the complete schedule). Gates open one hour before practice starts.
It’s not just the training camp that is the attraction – there is a kids fun zone for children ages 4 through 12 with inflatables and other activities.
There are many special events, including:
- Run with Staley on Saturday, Aug. 11, where kids ages 14 and under will race a 1-mile loop around campus with the Bears’ mascot. Staley will also hold a kiddy dash on the track for children age five and under. The first 50 race participants to register will receive an autograph card for the kids’ autograph session that will take place following practice. Additionally, all participants will receive a T-shirt and medal. The registration fee is $15 per child.
- Autographs! At select practices, the first 150 kids ages 4-12 in line outside Gate 1 will receive a pass good for that day’s autograph session only. The autograph session is typically held immediately following practice and is located inside the tennis court area. Dates are 7/31, 8/1, 8/2, 8/5, 8/7, 8/11, 8/14.
- Bears Family Night at ONU (Monday, Aug. 13) Come out to Ward Field and watch the Bears practice under the lights. Pre-practice festivities will begin at 6:00 pm with practice set to start at 7:00 pm. A spectacular fireworks display will take place after practice.
Parking and admission are free — food is available for sale.
Directions: It will vary depending on what suburb you're coming from, but from Geneva, you could take I-88 east to I-355 South, then onto I-80 toward Indiana, and then onto US-45 South into Bourbonnais. The trip is about 70 miles from Geneva.
If you go, let us know how much fun you had!