News @ Noon: Minnesota Vikings to Kick-Off 50th Training Camp in Mankato
MANKATO - Mankato is getting ready for another Minnesota Vikings training camp. The 50th anniversary of the Vikings in Mankato starts Saturday, and runs through August 13th.
Visit Mankato spokesman Chris Willaert says the fan experience has changed a lot over the past 50 years.
Back then you didn't have merchandise tents, and you didn't have blow-up games for the kids, and there was nothing for concessions. So, yes it has become much more of a fan interactive experience, and much more of a carnival-like atmosphere.
Willaert says he's noticed a lot more excitement from the fans this year, compared to the previous few years.
One of the things that I've really noticed is that radio stations and a lot of other media outlets are reaching out to us, that maybe in the past some of them hadn't. So that right there tells me there's a different level of excitement. But even just the buzz around town is a lot different this year. Obviously part of that is it's the 50th. But part of it is everybody is so excited about what the Vikings are putting on the field this year.
Willaert says they have some special events planned this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
He says they're expecting nearly 60,000 people to visit Mankato over the next three weeks, generating nearly $6 million in revenue for Mankato area businesses.