What to look for when visiting the Bears summer camp starting Friday.
Chicago Bears fans who have attended training camp in Bourbonnais know what there is to do: not much.
It’s hardly the tourism capital of Illinois. Yet it’s exactly what NFL teams like, as their players can concentrate on football, and hopefully, avoid distractions.
The team works out and stays at Olivet Nazarene University. Fans can attend practices and get a taste of football before the regular season kicks off Sept. 9 at San Diego. Chicago’s camp opens at 3 p.m. Friday and concludes with an 11:10 a.m. practice Aug. 18. It’s advised that you call 815-352-3277 to verify practice times before making the trip, as they occasionally change.
It’s a fan-friendly atmosphere when you get there. Fans can sit in bleachers or bring chairs. Bring plenty of sunscreen, if this year is anything like last year, when the first half of camp was conducted in sweltering conditions.
Food and beverages are available on-site. Fans can collect autographs, and sometimes watch and listen to live SCORE (670 AM) and WMVP (1000 AM) shows. As for practices, sometimes fans can pick and choose different fields to watch different drills.
Between practice sessions or when the day’s schedule is complete, there are the typical fast-food franchises and chain restaurants along Route 50, such as Applebees, Red Lobster, Pizza Hut and Ruby Tuesday.
A couple of readers offered their recommendations. Chris Ecker of Rockford suggests pizza at the Traxx in Grant Park, about 20 minutes outside of town. He notes that there are half-price specials Tuesdays.
Chris Dilley said in an e-mail that the best Bar-B-Que is at Soul Da Soul, at 559 E. Court St. in Kankakee. He calls it "deeeelicious."
When the sun sets and you want to spot Bears at night, the most popular place is just off campus at T.J. Donlin, a bar at 118 Main St. RD’s bar is next door.
Rockford Register Star staff writer Reed Schreck can be reached at 815-987-1381 or email@example.com.