You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Double feature! Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival expecting large crowds

The Repository logo The Repository 7/22/2021 Cassandra Nist, The Repository
a sign lit up at night: Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement; Wednesday, April 27, 2021. © The Repository / Scott Heckel Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement; Wednesday, April 27, 2021.

CANTON – The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival returns this year with a Hall of Fame-style double feature — and reformatted events highlighted by outdoor dining.

The 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival was postponed last summer because of COVID-19.

In August, the Hall will enshrine the Centennial Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 on back-to-back nights at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, expecting to draw larger-than-usual crowds to the Canton area. 

Collyn Floyd, vice president of marketing and communications for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the festival draws 700,000 people to Canton each year.

Among the 20 members of the Centennial Class of 2020, 12 will be enshrined Aug. 7, followed by the enshrinement of seven of the eight Class of 2021 on Aug. 8. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined nine of its newest members posthumously, during a special program on April 28.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Family and friends of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame pose for a group photo with their busts at Umstattd Hall in Canton on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The event posthumously recognized their contributions to the game. © The Repository / Scott Heckel Family and friends of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame pose for a group photo with their busts at Umstattd Hall in Canton on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The event posthumously recognized their contributions to the game.

This year's Centennial Celebration begins with the delayed Hall of Fame Game featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers and ends with the 2021 Concert for Legends featuring country music's Brad Paisley, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jimmie Allen.

Large crowds prompt format changes

Three events held at the Canton Memorial Civic Center — the Fashion Show Luncheon, Enshrinees' Roundtable and Enshrinees' Gold Jacket Dinner — each have been reformatted.

The most notable change will be food and beverage restrictions inside the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

The changes are because of "unprecedented ticket demand from the increased number of Enshrinees," Floyd explained.

For starters, the formerly titled Fashion Show Luncheon is now the Fashion Show. Guests no longer will be served an indoor plated lunch as experienced in previous years.

Instead, guests will arrive to a garden-themed reception outdoors, with food and beverage stations including complimentary mimosas, mini fresh fruit skewers, caprese crostini, assorted mini quiches, artisan cheeses, crackers and grapes, along with lemongrass and Korean BBQ chicken skewers, followed by a decadent chocolate chip brownie with fresh raspberries. 

"Once the guests move inside, they'll experience a high-energy runway fashion show" and live entertainment from DJ E-V and Siena Bella, Floyd said.

a group of people posing for a photo: A past class of enshrinees pose at the annual gold jacket event at the Memorial Civic Center during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. © photo provided A past class of enshrinees pose at the annual gold jacket event at the Memorial Civic Center during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.

Gold Jacket Dinner becomes the Gold Jacket Ceremony

The Enshrinees' Gold Jacket Dinner was retitled the Enshrinees' Gold Jacket Ceremony for the 2021 festival.

Guests will arrive to an outdoor cocktail party featuring food and beverage stations followed by the traditional ceremony inside the Civic Center, where fans watch as enshrinees receive their gold jackets, amongst other Hall of Famers in town.

"There will likely be more living Hall of Famers in Canton than any other year, even exceeding the 50th anniversary reunion year," said Rich Desrosiers, vice president of communications and public relations at Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The fan favorite Enshrinees' Roundtable event will kick off outside the Civic Center with a tailgate-themed pre-event reception. Tailgaters attending the ticketed event will enjoy BBQ pulled pork sliders, grilled all-beef hot dogs, pasta salad, potato skins and chocolate chip brownies.

The Enshrinees' Roundtable, where members share stories and career memories, is pancaked between the two enshrinement ceremonies Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

"The Centennial Class of 2020 will have been enshrined before the Roundtable, but the class of 2021 won't be enshrined until later that evening. With that dynamic, it could make for some interesting exchanges between the guys from the two classes," Desrosiers said.

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd: The Concert for Legends has become another hallmark event of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. This year's performers are Lynyrd Skynyrd and Brad Paisley. © Ed Balint The Concert for Legends has become another hallmark event of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. This year's performers are Lynyrd Skynyrd and Brad Paisley.

Other changes coming this year

Other changes to the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival include moving the Concert For Legends featuring Brad Paisley, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jimmie Allen, to Monday night at Tom Benson Stadium.

The concert formerly took place on Sunday, but with the two enshrinement ceremonies, the event was pushed back a day. 

The Hall of Fame Game, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, was postponed from last year and will take place at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, and will be broadcast on the Fox Network.

Field access will be "very strict" due to NFL protocols, Desrosiers said.

a group of people standing next to a window: Young football fans get an autograph from a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2016 during festivities outside the Hall of Fame museum. © Ed Balint Young football fans get an autograph from a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2016 during festivities outside the Hall of Fame museum.

No direct fan contact with Enshrinees

This year's festival brings three distinct autograph sessions, all presented by Panini, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

No direct contact between Enshrinees and fans will be permitted, including a simple hand shake.

"We'll have personnel who take the items from fans and hand to guys signing, rather than have direct fan-to-signer contact," Desrosiers said. 

The Centennial Class of 2020 Autograph Session on Aug. 5 is sold out.

The Class of 2021 Autograph Session will take place at noon Aug. 7 at the Hall of Fame, and the Returning Gold Jackets Autograph Session will take place at noon Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

Will fans have to wear masks?

The question on many minds is likely whether people will have to wear masks at the events.

"We are encouraging any fan who has not been vaccinated fully to wear a mask," Desrosiers said.

"We are following NFL and state of Ohio protocols," he added.

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival division echoed a similar statement.

Although masks are optional for guests, "all employees, volunteers and guests should watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they have been around someone who is sick," Floyd said. "If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19, they should get tested and stay home and away from others."

Where should visitors park? 

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival division of as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame say they are expecting larger than usual crowds due to the double enshrinement.

Parking for both Enshrinements, Concert for Legends and for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be available at the Stark County Fairgrounds, where shuttles will be available to transport fans.

For events at the Canton Memorial Civic Center, a pre-purchased parking permit is required for the on-site parking deck, and can be purchased online at www.profootballhofef.com.

"Some patrons choose to find on-street parking or at area surface lots, but a pre-purchased parking permit is strongly encouraged," Floyd said.

The Canton Police Department, Stark County Sheriff's Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol will be on-site and in the vicinity of all Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events, police Lt. Dennis Garren said.

"We expect 20,000-plus on the HOF campus on event days," Garren said. 

For tickets to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement events, click here or visit https://www.profootballhof.com/enshrinement-week-fan-guide.

Reach Cassandra 330.418.5297; cnist@gannett.com; Twitter @Cassienist 

a statue in front of a crowd: The Canton Repository Grand Parade is one of the signature events of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. © Ed Balint The Canton Repository Grand Parade is one of the signature events of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.

2021 Schedule of Events

SUNDAY, JULY 25

  • 2:30 p.m. - COMMUNITY PARADE PRESENTED BY AULTCARE • Downtown Canton

FRIDAY, JULY 30

  • 4:00 p.m. BALLOON CLASSIC & NIGHT GLOW • KSU at Stark/Stark State Campuses

SATURDAY, JULY 31

  • 6:30 a.m. BALLOON CLASSIC • KSU at Stark/Stark State Campuses
  • 8:00 a.m. UP, UP & AWAY 5K • KSU at Stark Campus
  • 4:00 p.m. BALLOON CLASSIC & FIREWORKS • KSU at Stark/Stark State Campuses

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1

  • 6:30 a.m. BALLOON CLASSIC  • KSU at Stark/Stark State Campuses

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4

  • 10:00 a.m. PLAY FOOTBALL FIRST PLAY PRESENTED BY PANINI • Downtown Canton to Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 6:00 p.m. - 8 p.m. PLAY FOOTBALL SKILLS CAMP • Youth Sports Complex 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5

  • Noon - 7 p.m. HOF FUN FEST & BEER FEST (TILL 7:00 p.m.) • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 3:00 p.m. CLASS OF 2020 AUTOGRAPH SESSION PRESENTED BY PANINI • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 8:00 p.m. HALL OF FAME GAME • Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6

  • 11:00 a.m. FASHION SHOW  • Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center
  • 11:15 a.m. GOLD JACKET PHOTO OP • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Noon - 4 p.m. HOF FUN FEST & BEER FEST  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 5:00 p.m. ENSHRINEES' GOLD JACKET CEREMONY • Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7

  • 8:00 a.m. THE CANTON REPOSITORY GRAND PARADE • Downtown Canton
  • Noon: CLASS OF 2021 AUTOGRAPH SESSION PRESENTED BY PANINI • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Noon: RETURNING GOLD JACKETS AUTOGRAPH SESSION PRESENTED BY PANINI • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Noon-4p.m: HOF FUN FEST & BEER FEST  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 6:30 p.m: 2020 ENSHRINEMENT • Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium

SUNDAY, AUGUST 8

  • Noon:-7 p.m. HOF FUN FEST & BEER FEST  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Noon: RETURNING GOLD JACKETS AUTOGRAPH SESSION PRESENTED BY PANINI • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Noon: ENSHRINEES' ROUNDTABLE • Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center
  • 7:00 p.m. 2021 ENSHRINEMENT • Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium 

MONDAY, AUGUST 9

  • Noon: HOF FUN FEST & BEER FEST • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 8:00 p.m.CONCERT FOR LEGENDS • Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium • Brad Paisley & Lynyrd Skynyrd

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Double feature! Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival expecting large crowds

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from TCA

The Repository
The Repository
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon