Fans in Green Bay hit the streets to celebrate

Sun, Feb 6

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Seconds after the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, the NFL's smallest city looked a lot like Times Square on New Year's Eve -- with thousands of green-and-white clad fans greeting each another with high-fives, hugs and, yes, kisses.

Fans who had been at local bars all day poured into the streets to revel in the victory.

"We're gonna go to the river and enjoy some fireworks," said Shawn Welch, 33, of Milwaukee. "Vince Lombardi's trophy came back to Vince Lombardi's town."

Many fans had been outside all day, braving 26-degree temperatures at kickoff. In the Lambeau Field parking lot, many fans set up makeshift living rooms, complete with comfy seating and TVs. The stadium itself, and Curly's Pub inside, was closed as the Packers shut down all stadium businesses to allow employees to watch the game.

"I would like to have gone in and watched it, but I think it's wonderful the organization treats the employees well and let them off," said Jeff Witt, who drove more than 60 miles from Menominee, Mich.

Witt brought with him a 1985 Ford Escort, decked out in Packers colors, which he has been driving to games and training camps since Green Bay won Super Bowl XXXI in 1997. The car's fuel pump died days before the Super Bowl, but Witt refused to let a mechanical problem keep his good-luck charm on the bench.

"I put it on a trailer and brought it down anyway," Witt said. "It's not a Super Bowl every Sunday."

Turned out to be a good call.

The majority of Packers fans, though, chose to watch the Super Bowl indoors, lining up outside local establishments more than eight hours before kickoff to secure good seats.

"Our tables were full by 9 a.m.," said Amanda Watson, general manager of Legends Brewhouse and Eatery, a bar near the stadium that packed in 3,000 customers.