While some families are preparing for the Thanksgiving, other families are preparing for their sons to play in the 2011 Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) State Football Championships at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. Since the fall of 1999, the IHSA Football State Finals have been held at Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend and on November 25th and 26th, over 30,000 fans will be in our community to cheer on their schools.
Outside of the stadium, one of the many great traditions of the weekend is “Tent City”. Hosted by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, “Tent City” is a row of large tents provided for each community to hold pre- and post-game celebrations. Anchored by an even larger entertainment tent, complete with cotton candy, popcorn, hot chocolate, a mechanical bull, music and a big screen TV, “Tent City” has been a great addition to the game day experience for incoming fans.
In some cases, schools will go all out, from roasting hogs to catering in meals, to having their marching bands or spirit squads perform. We never know what to expect and every year we’re blown away by the school spirit some of the teams demonstrate at Tent City. The sights, the smells, the sounds and the fans really resemble that of an Illinois football game.
As you can imagine, 30,000 people visiting our community is a great thing for our local businesses, hotels and shopping venues. Last year, the IHSA State Football Championships generated approximately $3.1 million dollars of economic impact.
Tickets for this year’s IHSA State Football Championships are available for $10 at the ticket office on the south side of the Stadium. Tickets are sold as a one-day pass and are valid for all four games each day. The 1A – 4A classes will play on Friday and the 5A – 8A schools will play on Saturday.
We hope everyone welcomes the IHSA Football State Championships and its fans with open arms and hope you enjoy our community.