Connections – Welcome back!

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 :: Connections
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

The “Welcome Back Packers Luncheon,” hosted by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce every year in late August, sells out fast. Photo courtesy Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

How would you like to have lunch with B. J. Raji? To talk with Jordy Nelson about the upcoming season over coffee? To argue with Clay Matthews over who will get the last piece of cake? Indeed, few fans get the chance to rub elbows with Packers players, but every year, at the close of the summer, some lucky people do.

The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Welcome Back Packers Luncheon” will take place in the Lambeau Field Atrium Aug. 28.

The Packers are introduced for the lunch when they’re ready, as they will be coming from that morning’s practice. Every player will be in attendance (except for those that might be injured).

The event was first held back in the 1960s when Vince Lombardi was coach. Originally as a dinner, it was hosted after the first week of training camp. In 1996, former Coach Mike Holmgren changed it to a luncheon, continuing the tradition at a different time in the day.

The event is capped at 900 attendees. There are 100 tables with spots for nine people, plus a 10th empty chair – reserved for a “mystery” Packers player. Just before lunch is served, the players and coaches are introduced, one by one. Each draws a number from a bucket that corresponds to a specific table and is escorted, to applause, to the lucky group. Afterward, Coach Mike McCarthy is expected to give a brief speech about the upcoming season.

Given the excitement surrounding the event, it sells out quickly, “within a matter of a few days,” says Marilyn Heim, special events coordinator at the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

One thing to remember is that this is an annual event. Knowing how much pride Titletown has in its team, the tradition will undoubtedly continue.


Upcoming events

Monday, Aug. 12

The Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College will host the free workshop, “Explore Starting Your Own Business” at FVTC’s D.J. Bordini Center, 5 Systems Drive, Appleton. To register, call (920) 735-5709 or visit


Tuesday, Aug. 13

Manitowoc Women in Management, Inc. will host a luncheon and tour of the Aurora Healthcare Healing Gardens in Two Rivers. The event features speaker Joan Litwitz, program director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Wisconsin. The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. with registration, followed by lunch and networking. The event ends at 1 p.m. The cost is $10. Register by Aug. 9 at


Monday, Aug. 19

The 25th Annual Agnesian Health Care Foundation’s Charity Open will be held at South Hills Golf & Country Club in Fond du Lac. The fee is $50 to $150. To register, visit


Wednesday, Sept. 11

The Sheboygan County Chamber Golf Classic will be held at the Quit Qui Oc Golf Club in Elkhart Lake. The fee is $500 per foursome. To register, visit


Thursday, Oct. 31

Manufacturing First Annual Expo & Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the KI Center in Green Bay. This year’s speakers include Craig Giffi, vice chairman of Deloitte, LLP; Mike Weller, president of Miller Electric; Steve Stich, chief risk officer at Oshkosh Corporation; and Steve Van Remortel, speaker, chief strategist and talent coach of SM Advisors and author of the award-winning book “Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream.” Visit to register.