Aerial photo of tom Benson hall of fame stadium during 2017 enshrinement festival photo by Ray Stewart

Jess vs. the tip of the iceberg

I’ve been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’ve experienced the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival festivities many, many times. I even worked for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce for years, helping with marketing and media relations for the Enshrinement Festival events put on by the Chamber.

I’ve been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’ve experienced the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival festivities many, many times. I even worked for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce for years, helping with marketing and media relations for the Enshrinement Festival events put on by the Chamber.

Let me be clear: I really don’t care about football. At all. And I don’t really care about Enshrinees or Hall of Famers. But the Hall and the annual festival always have been a feather in Canton’s cap. It’s a point of pride for residents of this Rust Belt city to also be the “Hall of Fame City.” For legends of the game to talk with reverie about the idea of “coming to Canton.”

The events put on by the Hall and the Chamber always have been impressive. But this past series of events? Extraordinary.

There was an extra special bit of electricity in the air this time around; a feeling circulating the city that only can be described as being “on the cusp.” I imagine it’s a very small taste of what great men and women feel when they’re on the verge of excellence, apropos given that the Hall of Fame’s mission is to celebrate excellence everywhere.

It’s a feeling not often felt, and it takes a village.

So when I hear residents disparage the $700 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, claim it won’t happen, or (somehow, inexplicably?) won’t benefit the city, I quite literally can’t believe it. Seeing is believing, so how can you see the “tip” in the gorgeous glow of Benson Stadium, and not believe that the entire iceberg lies below?

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass