Wednesday, July 11 marked a big day for the Indianapolis Colts: the final Fan Fest of the summer. Saving one of the best stops for last, we made sure to go all out for our fans in Terre Haute.
You would think at this point, we would be able to make it to our Fan Fest destination without any problems. After all, we’ve been doing this all summer. However, the Colts summer crew likes to keep things interesting. Tiny led the box truck astray, taking along with him the Play 60 zone, bounce house and inflatable slide. Thankfully, Google Maps didn’t let us down and we were able to arrive in Terre Haute right on time.
Tiny decided to be quite stubborn for us, and making sure he was standing upright for fans to see proved to be more difficult than usual. Personally, I think Tiny was a little sad that it was his last Fan Fest. Can you blame him?
Besides Tiny causing a few issues, the other inflatables proved to be a hit with fans of all ages. Even a few moms and dads tried going down the slide with their kids. No injuries were reported from the bounce house, with the exception of a few head bumps and hard hits.
Adam Vinatieri and Anthony Castonzo came out to meet some of their biggest fans at Deming Park. Vinatieri, Colts kicker as well as a fan favorite, has made countless trips to meet with fans throughout his NFL career. “My favorite thing about interacting with the fans is the stories you hear firsthand,” said Vinatieri. “Like where they were when we won the Super Bowl. You get to relate to the other side of the field.”
Castonzo, the Colts 2011 first round draft pick, has traveled all over the state this summer to meet with fans. Castonzo described his favorite Colts fan as “super die-hard.”
“I love fans that really have a passion for the sport and excitement for the team.” said Castonzo.
It was obvious from the turn out that Terre Haute fans fit Castonzo’s description. A backup on the interstate left fans waiting a little longer to meet the players. Nonetheless, fans waited around so that they could have a chance to show their support for the Colts.
“Not having practice every day [in the off season] allows me to have the chance to spend time in the community,” said Castonzo. “I feel like it’s my duty to give back to the fans because they give so much to the team.”
Fans like the Padgett family enjoyed looking at the newest items in our traveling Pro Shop while waiting for the players to arrive. The Padgetts are avid Colts fans and have traveled to several Colts events over the years. We wanted to know their family’s favorite thing about the Indianapolis Colts. Of course their response was, “Winning!”
The Weaver family was also very excited to attend last Wednesday’s Fan Fest. These season ticket holders love getting out to Colts events in their community to meet other Colts fans.
Tiny and I also love meeting some of our biggest Colts fans at each Fan Fest. Terre Haute fans, you all are great! We loved being able to sing and dance along with you all while the Jai Baker Band took your song requests. Jai and the band told us they don’t do that very often, so you all should feel pretty special!
Thanks again for coming out to our final Fan Fest of the season. We wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone else. We’ll look forward to your COLTSTRONG support this season!
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, anthony castonzo, ColtStrong, fan fest, Terre Haute, Tiny, winning
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After leaving Princeton Wednesday evening, the crew headed to Evansville to spend the night before an early morning departure to New Albany for our second Fan Fest of the week. We enjoyed a wonderful continental breakfast Thursday morning before filling up the cars with gas and loading the coolers with plenty of Gatorade and water to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s a good thing we did because temperatures reached above 100 degrees and staying hydrated was crucial. Thanks to the Indiana Blood Center who came out to the event to supply fans with water throughout the day!
Record breaking temperatures couldn’t stop these Colts fans from visiting our Fan Fest. Official “Super Fan” Brent Keane waited in the front of the line to get a few more autographs on his signature-filled football. “I’ve got all sorts of players – past and present – that signed this ball. I’m looking forward to getting a few more,” said Keane.
Even Blue came out to take part in the fun. Dancing around and tossing the football, Blue made sure fans were entertained while they waited. I saw one little Colts fan jumping up and down yelling, “Blue! Blue! Blue!”
Colts fan Emma came to the Fan Fest wearing her favorite Colts jersey and blue hair ribbon with a Colts football in hand. Emma, who turns seven in two days, was most excited to meet the cheerleaders. Her mom and baby brother were also excited to get some autographs from the players because the Colts are “daddy’s favorite team!” I suggested to Mom that a trip to Anderson for training camp later this summer would be an excellent belated birthday present. I hope you can make to camp, Emma!
Jerraud Powers and Cassius Vaughn also braved the heat to meet their fans in New Albany. “These fans spend their hard-earned money to come watch us play during the year so it’s great that we can come to see them at Fan Fests,” said Powers.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for us to connect with our fans. We don’t get to do that often.”
New Albany mayor Jeff Gahann stopped by the Fan Fest to show his appreciation for the Colts coming to the city. “It’s so exciting that you guys are here! Despite the heat, we’re so glad you’re here in New Albany. There’s a lot of Colts fans here in the city!” said Gahann.
Gahann complimented the band, Free Fallin’, that played for fans throughout the event. He also filled us in on some restaurants to stop by on our way out of town. I told him I’d be fine eating at any restaurant as long as there was air conditioning. I’m pretty easy to please.
New Albany resident Kevin Fetz was busy taking photos throughout the event. In fact, he even came early. “I was determined to get here an hour before the Fan Fest. I wanted to make sure I could get autographs! It might be hot out, but I wouldn’t miss it!” said Fetz.
Fortunately, Tiny didn’t melt in the intense heat. In fact, I think he enjoyed looking over the event with a view of the Ohio River in the background. When we finally had packed away the last inflatable, closed the doors on Colts In Motion and dumped the melted ice from the coolers it was tempting not to make a run for it and jump into the river. Instead of running to the river, we jumped in the cars and blasted the AC. This was probably a much better decision in the long run.
New Albany fans, you all are awesome! One fan summed it up perfectly as he was leaving: “It might be warm out, but it’s worth it to be here.” Thanks for making Thursday’s Fan Fest a successful event despite the scorching heat.
Tiny and I will be taking a break from the road next week, but don’t worry, we’ll be in Terre Haute Wednesday, July 11th. Fans, get ready – I want to see some crazy Colts spirit!
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, fan fest, jerraud powers, New Albany, Tiny
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Bright and early Wednesday morning, the Colts caravan rolled out of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and headed south to Princeton, Ind. The whole crew was on the road for this trip, from our interns in community relations to ticket sales, as well as youth football and sponsorship sales. No one wanted to miss this Fan Fest!
Three hours later, we finally arrived at the Toyota plant in Princeton. I couldn’t believe how massive the place was! Before we started to set up for the event, some of us took a tour of the plant’s Visitor Center. We met Joanie who told us some interesting facts about Toyota. One fun fact being that the man who started the Toyota company was actually named “Toyoda.” However, in the Japanese language the letter D is made with eight strokes and eight is an unlucky number. The company changed the D to T and hasn’t looked back since. Joanie and I both agreed that the T looks much better anyways.
Soon after that, the inflatables were inflated, Colts In Motion was open for business, Free Fallin’ was warming up tunes like Won’t Back Down and American Girl and the players were en route to the event. The dynamic duo of Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner made their second appearance of the summer at Wednesday’s Fan Fest. Two fan favorites, these guys love having fun with Colts fans.
“It’s just always so great to see how many fans want to support you, even during the summer,” said Conner. “It’s awesome to be able to interact with the fans at events like these.”
The fans in Princeton did not disappoint. High temperatures and waiting in line on asphalt didn’t deter these COLTSTRONG fans. From the Toyota workers who came out and waited in their hard hats to the kids who ran up and down the slide for two hours, anyone and everyone came out to meet the Colts.
Corbin, Rilen and Landon were excited because one of their cousins was a cheerleader at the Fan Fest. Corbin said to me: “I know Stephanie! I know one of the cheerleaders!” While Corbin was excited to see his cousin, he also couldn’t wait to get out of line to play in the inflatables. Corbin did have one very important question for me. “So what exactly does that big blow up guy do?” Assuming he was talking about my good friend Tiny, I explained that Tiny oversees all of our Colts Fan Fests to make sure everyone has a good time. I think Corbin was satisfied with the answer, although a little disappointed Tiny wasn’t a bounce house or slide that he could jump around in.
It was great to see all of the Toyota workers that were able to take a break from working to come check out the Fan Fest. Even the company president showed up to meet the Colts! Michelle Jackson, a Public Affairs manager at the plant, was very excited the Colts were able to visit. “It’s so great that the Colts could come to us because not everyone down here can always get up to them,” said Jackson. “And it’s especially great that we can do this for our Toyota team members here at the plant.”
Crowds lingered until the very end of the event, but soon after the fun began it was time to tear down and pack up for the next one. Thanks for the fun time, Princeton! I hope we’re able to come back to visit next year. And as for you all at the Toyota plant, we’re so glad you’re the “Official Vehicle of the Indianapolis Colts!”
Tags: fan fest, kavell conner, pat angerer, Princeton, Toyota
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It was another extremely warm day when we arrived in Rushville at Riverside Park for Saturday’s Fan Fest. But when has a little heat and humidity stopped us before? With Tiny riding shotgun in our caravan, we drove down the winding gravel road only to be greeted like rock stars by the staff members from the park. “Feel free to make yourselves at home in the green room!” one of the staff members told us. Green room?! Ok, I think I can handle this celebrity treatment.
Little did we know that we would be sharing the green room with Free Fallin’, one of the best Tom Petty tribute bands in the area. One of the band members even offered us VIP passes to the show later in the evening. However, because we’re always so busy during the Fan Fest we had to decline his offer. I hope some lucky Colts fan was able to enjoy the VIP experience!
Rushville is the smallest city that our Fan Fest has visited this summer, but this community is definitely not lacking in Colts spirit. Fans spilled in from all directions decked out in their favorite Colts gear. Several fans waited in line to purchase a new jersey for the upcoming season. I listened to one young fan give a very convincing argument to his parents as to why he needed a new Andrew Luck jersey. “But Dad, he’s my favorite player! I need it!”
Colts Rookie, Dwayne Allen, took in his first experience meeting Colts fans at the Rushville Fan Fest event. “I’ve never been to Rushville, but these fans seem like they love the Colts. It’s cool to see that they’re just as eager for football season to start,” said Allen.
Allen gave a shout out to the Rushville community through Twitter later in the evening with his tweet, “…Awesome town with great fans!”
I was especially excited to visit Rushville because my family decided to come out for the event! My parents, grandfather and aunt all came to the Fan Fest. They claim that they were there to visit with me, but I think they were more excited about registering to win free tickets and getting some autographs. I tried to convince my dad to take a trip down the inflatable slide or at least spend a few minutes inside the bounce house, but he wasn’t feeling it. That would’ve made for the perfect Kodak moment.
By the time I talked to Michelle and Tom Richardson and their son Adam they had endured the heat for more than an hour, but they weren’t planning on leaving anytime soon. Adam went to a Colts game a few seasons ago with tickets he won from a radio contest. “His dad and I are hoping his luck will rub off on us, and we’ll win some tickets from the register-to-win!” said Michelle.
The field goal challenge was a huge hit with the fans. Anyone and everyone took their turn at the tee. Even fellow Colts intern Ally tried to see if she could make it through the posts. While she gave it a valiant effort, after coming off a hip surgery a few months ago, her leg strength wasn’t quite there.
What a fun way to end a busy week of Fan Fests! With two of our favorite players, the inflatables, the Pro Shop, Colts In Motion and of course, Tiny, we went all out for our Rushville fans. Thank you, Rushville fans for coming out to show your Colts spirit. We know that we can count on you to be COLTSTRONG this season!
We’ll be back on the road again this week with Tiny leading the way down to Princeton Wednesday and New Albany Thursday. We’re excited to meet some crazy Colts fans down in Southern Indiana!
Tags: Colts In Motion, ColtStrong, dwayne allen, fan fest
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The Beach Boys said it best when they sang “There’s a place called Kokomo. That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all.” Tiny, myself and the rest of the Colts crew spent last Friday enjoying the sights and sounds of Kokomo, Ind. at our third Fan Fest of the summer.
Before we arrived at our Fan Fest location, we stopped at our FAVORITE Jimmy John’s restaurant. Randall, our FAVORITE Jimmy John’s employee greeted us like regulars. We practically are considering we’ve stopped to eat at the Kokomo JJ’s twice in one week. I’m not complaining!
When we finally reached our Fan Fest location, it was go time. At this point in the summer the Colts intern staff works like a well-oiled machine. We strive for extreme efficiency while setting up for each Fan Fest. Despite a few twisted inflatables and the big, bad Tiny becoming tangled with some tree limbs, things went off without a hitch.
I met with a few fans while they waited for the players and cheerleaders to arrive. Sue, one of Kokomo’s biggest fans stood at the front of the line eager to meet Justin Snow and Joe Reitz. Sue endured the heat all afternoon waiting in the park while we set up for the event. Once the traveling Colts Pro Shop arrived, Sue was first in line to get some shopping done. “I bought some cute Colts earrings to send to one of my best friends in Utah. She cheers for the Colts all the way out there!” said Sue.
Finally, the Colts players and cheerleaders arrived on stage and the fun began! Both Reitz and Snow have traveled throughout Indiana this summer to meet Colts fans. Reitz, who signed autographs in LaPorte last Wednesday, was extremely impressed with how the crowds turned out again in Kokomo.
“It’s awesome to see this amount of support from our fans in Kokomo,” said Reitz. “This is what it’s all about.”
Curt, Stephanie, their two children Kendall and Bryce were all very excited to meet the players and take part in the rest of the Fan Fest fun. Kendall and Bryce informed me that they had never been to a Colts game. “But it is my birthday in four days!” said Bryce. Mom and Dad, I think he was directing this toward you. Don’t you think a trip down to Lucas Oil for a game this season would make for the perfect birthday present? – – You’re welcome, Bryce!
So what was the highlight of the Kokomo Fan Fest? The famous Daisy the Derby Duck showed up to meet some of her favorite Colts players! Daisy is with the Samaritan Caregivers, an organization affiliated with the United Way that helps care for elderly citizens in the community. Daisy was able to get her picture taken with Reitz and Snow before mingling with the rest of the Kokomo Colts fans. I think the players were just as excited to meet Kokomo’s famous duck as she was to meet them.
When it was finally time to deflate the bounce house, fans drifted over to the concert stage to listen to the Legendary Poco perform some of their famous hits. The Colts crew was even able to enjoy some tunes while we packed away the stage, tents and Tiny, of course.
Kokomo Colts fans, thanks for welcoming us to your town. You all are awesome! Braving the heat and long lines, I can tell this city loves the Colts just as much as Tiny and I do. If the Beach Boys are singing about how amazing your city is, then you know you’re big time. I mean, it’s the only place they want to go! Thanks for the fun times, Kokomo!
Tags: fan fest, joe reitz, justin snow
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Wednesday was a big day for Tiny and the rest of the Colts marketing crew as we headed three hours north to LaPorte, Ind., home of the Slicers. What exactly is a Slicer? I’m still not exactly sure, but I do know that the Slicers showed up in full force for Wednesday’s Fan Fest.
While we managed to entertain ourselves throughout the lengthy car ride with various “Call Me Maybe” remixes and some old school rap jams, we all felt a little sluggish by the time we arrived at LaPorte High School. However, there were several volunteers ready to help when we began to set up for the event. Water, crowd control, you name it: these Colts fans were ready to step in wherever the need may be. Thank you, volunteers!
I met with some fans while they waited in line to visit with our sponsors, register to win free tickets, sign up for one of the Colts Official Fan Clubs and most importantly, meet the Colts players and cheerleaders. There were blue wigs, countless Colts jerseys and even a man sporting his Colts pajama pants.
Avery, a six-year-old from LaPorte, waited in line prior to the gates opening so he could show off his fresh blue Mohawk to some of his favorite Colts players. Avery remembered traveling down to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch a Colts game a few years ago. “I’m not sure who the Colts played, but I know that we won!” While his semi-permanent hair color may not last until the season starts, Avery assured me that he’ll still be cheering for the Colts come September when we kick off the regular season against the Bears.
Finally, a limo arrived with the cheerleaders and a bright red helicopter swarmed over the field carrying Colts players, Pat McAfee and Joe Reitz. Fans cheered and pointed to the sky, barely containing their excitement.
Reitz said, “They’ve really rolled out the red carpet for us here in LaPorte. It’s great to see how excited the fans are for Colts football even three hours north of Indianapolis.”
Colts punter, Pat McAfee welcomed all of the fans to Wednesday’s Fan Fest and thanked them all for their support. McAfee said, “Colts fans are the BEST fans.” But we already knew that, right?!
Before McAfee and Reitz had even signed their first autograph, the line stretched throughout the football field and out into the parking lot. Fans endured the long wait in the scorching sun with live music from the Jai Baker Band and competing for t-shirts tossed from our very own, Blue.
Colts fans Stephanie and Brandon stood at the end of the line, but they didn’t care how long the wait was. “We’re here because we love the Colts!” said Stephanie. “Who knows, maybe we’ll even win some free tickets while we’re here!”
Our good friend, Tiny (a 30’ inflatable mascot, in case you haven’t met him), welcomed kids of all ages to our Play 60 zone that included the Colts bounce house and inflatable slide. Colts fan Brock told me he was so “COLTSTRONG” that he could tackle Tiny to the ground. While Brock aced the quarterback challenge and sped through the drills in the Play 60 zone, he was only a little more than three feet tall, compared to Tiny standing at 30 feet tall. However, when you’re “the strongest kid at the Fan Fest” you can do anything you set your mind to.
It was obvious that fun was had by all that attended the LaPorte Fan Fest. By the time the sun began to set and the line finally started to dwindle, the helicopter was swirling above the field waiting to take McAfee and Reitz back to Indianapolis.
McAfee tweeted to his followers that it was his first time riding in a helicopter. I’ve never ridden in a helicopter either so I’m hoping that they’ll consider allowing Tiny and I to ride down in a chopper of our own to our next Fan Fest event.
Before leaving the Fan Fest, Reitz showed his appreciation for the hundreds of Colts fans that came out to the event. “We’re nothing without our fans,” he said.
Although it was a little warm outside, it was nothing a cold bottle of water couldn’t fix. Thank you to the LaPorte High School cheerleading squad who spent their evening making sure fans stayed hydrated! I had a great time getting to meet our fans that cheer on the Colts from nearly 150 miles away. We’re glad we could bring some Colts blue spirit up north!
Get ready, Kokomo – we’re headed to you Friday! And Rushville – we’re coming your way Saturday!
Tags: fan fest, joe reitz, pat mcafee
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While summer doesn’t officially begin until next week, I kicked off my favorite season of the year Thursday evening at the Colts first Fan Fest in Wabash, Ind. Hundreds of Wabash community members swarmed to the Honeywell Center to take part in some Fan Fest fun. Lines had already begun to stretch throughout the street when players Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner arrived.
“It’s great to see the support from all of our fans at events like these. Everyone is always so enthusiastic about the Colts. It makes you realize how important your job really is,” said Angerer.
While most of the other interns were busy with important tasks such as making sure no injuries occurred in the bounce house, I visited with some of Wabash’s biggest Colts fans. Mike and Linda Campbell have waited in long lines before to see the Colts prior to visiting Thursday’s Fan Fest. In fact, a couple of seasons ago the Campbell’s tailgated in temperatures below freezing to cheer on the Colts to a victory. “It was so cold the chicken wings froze!” Mike said.
Thursday, however, was a beautiful day making the wait for autographs a little more comfortable. Crowds enjoyed music from former Colts punter Hunter Smith and his band. Kids bounced from one inflatable to another, stopping in between to take a look inside the Colts In Motion traveling museum.
Our favorite inflatable, Tiny, welcomed fans as they entered Thursday’s Fan Fest. Granted, it took nearly 10 interns to set up our brand new, 30 foot tall friend. We finally tied the big guy to the ground and, despite some pokes from a few toddlers, he stood tall and proud throughout the duration of the event. I like to think that Tiny is the inspiration behind “COLTSTRONG.”
As I talked to more and more people throughout the event, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement building for the upcoming Colts season. I have never visited Wabash, but after Thursday’s Fan Fest I can tell that this city bleeds blue.
One youngster, Dallas, told me he had no idea the Colts party, as he called it, was coming to town. In fact, he wondered when this “Colts party” would be back. While I couldn’t promise we would be back anytime soon, I did remind him that we weren’t leaving until 7 p.m. and that the inflatable slide was all his until we pulled the plug on the generator. I think Dallas made the trip up and down and slide at least seven more times.
Before tearing down the stage and packing away the bounce house and slide, I stopped to talk to Andrea Zwiebel from the Honeywell Center. Zwiebel said that she counted more than 950 people in attendance.
Can you believe that nearly 1,000 people came out to visit our Fan Fest?! While getting to meet Pat and Kavell was a highlight of the night for many, I’m sure that all fans in attendance mostly enjoyed getting to hang out with my good friend Tiny. Tiny and I love getting out and meeting our fans. We’ll be visiting LaPorte next Wednesday, and we’ll be looking for our biggest Colts fans to talk to. Blue hair, face and/or body paint, excessive blue clothing, and maybe even arriving on an actual horse will be sure to get you noticed. Thanks for the fun time, Wabash! As for you guys in LaPorte, see you soon!
Tags: fan fest, kavell conner, pat angerer
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