Staff at a Packers bar in Jacksonville, Florida are getting ready to welcome hundreds of Green Bay fans after the NFL announced the season opener will move to their city.
The Packers will now open the team's season against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12 in Jacksonville, Florida at TIAA Bank Field. The effects from Hurricane Ida caused the change in location.
Culhane's Irish Pub is listed as a Packers bar and the local headquarters in Jacksonville for Packers fans. Mary Jane Culhane, co-owner of the Irish pub, said they'll have hundreds of people watch the green and gold at their establishment on game days decked out in Packers gear.
The pub even offers cheese curds and other specials in honor of the Packers.
"I've seen huge crowds, sometimes even close to 200 in a regular game. And we've never even gotten that for a Jaguar game. So the Packers fans are a big deal here in Jacksonville," Culhane said. "I can't imagine how much bigger it can be with people flying in for the game."
Culhane anticipates triple the crowd for the upcoming season opener.
It seems as though Packers fans are everywhere! This is video from Joe Dempsey posted on the North Florida Packer Backers FB page. It shows fans tailgating outside the stadium in Jacksonville four years ago. I'm sure they're excited to see the Packers season opener in a few weeks pic.twitter.com/KUlMCZiGYY— Kelsey Dickeson (@KelseyDickeson) September 1, 2021
She said the team added a tent and bar trailer for an outdoor tailgate party that will be used on game days, including Sept. 12. Culhane said they plan to add more tents outside for the season opener.
"We are prepared and we'll treat it like a St. Patrick's party, because we know everybody likes to dress up and wear their cheese curd hats and all the festive stuff," Culhane said.
If people are looking to change travel plans to watch the game, and maybe check out Culhane's Irish Pub, a travel agency owner in De Pere has some suggestions.
Pete Monfre, owner of Midwest Travel Club, said people should read terms and conditions for hotel reservations, rental cars, and airline tickets to understand if there are any cancellation penalties or associated fees.
"Every policy is going to be a little bit different, so know what you're entitled to, know what you're not entitled to, and then you'll be able to make a more informed decision when you change your plans," Monfre said.
For those hoping to book plane tickets and hotel rooms in Jacksonville, Monfre said it's best to make the move sooner rather than later.
"The Packers are very popular and everyone's going to have the same idea right now, which is try to get themselves on a flight, in a hotel as fast as possible," Monfre said. "So don't wait. Don't sit there and say, 'I hope I get a last-minute deal.' It's going to fill up, especially because it's so last minute."
Monfre said travel agents can assist people in evaluating terms and conditions on purchases and looking into other flexible options while making new bookings, such as finding different routes to travel in and out of.