Bears’ training camp offers up family fun

Chicago Tribune

For the football-fanatic family, a day trip to the Chicago Bears’ training camp is the perfect way to close summer and usher in the busyness of back-to-school prep.

The Bears are readying their season just 90 minutes southwest of Chicago, on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. From July 26 through Aug. 14, fans can watch the team practice and be entertained with six theme days that cater to every member of the family.

Vamos Bears Day (July 29) will feature salsa dancers, live music, special food offerings and alumni autographs. The following day, dedicated to youth football organizations and cheerleaders, will give kids a chance to show off their own teams and win exclusive Bears apparel and memorabilia.

Ladies Day (Aug. 2) lets mom relax with a free chair and hand massage. Women-owned businesses will be spotlighted, and complimentary salon and body art services will be in abundance. Did we mention special guest speakers exclusively for this day? Former Chicago Bears player and color analyst of the Bears on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM Tom Thayer, Chicago Bears reporter Lauren Screeden and NFL Network national reporter Stacey Dales, will participate in a Q&A panel.

Armed Forces Day (Aug. 7) honors men and women who serve the country. Special seating will be reserved for those in uniform, along with a chance to participate in an autograph session afterward. If you have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces and would like to participate, contact the USO of Illinois for more information.

Kids Day (Aug. 12) lets the little ones go crazy. There will be a video-game truck, a rock climbing wall, face painters, balloon artists and a special dance show with the Bears’ lovable mascot, Staley. Attendees can even receive a Bears fidget spinner or foam finger.

Bear down on the final theme day (Bears Blue & Orange Day, Aug. 13) by sporting your best, and most outrageous, blue and orange. Some of the finest Bears tailgating vehicles will be shown off, and photo opportunities will be available. Also featured will be performances by the Chicago Bears Drumline. Super-fan wigs will be given to enthusiastic devotees who arrive early.

Football aficionados can enjoy a preview of their beloved Bears and this slew of events at no cost. Unlike previous years, you have to register in advance for a free ticket here.

Practice dates and times are subject to change.

chrjohnson@tronc.com

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