Fans are the winners at Windy City Bulls home opener
They went to a basketball game and a party broke out.
Well before the first slam dunk and well after the final horn, thousands filling seats at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates to cheer on the Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, enjoyed a night of nonstop fan-interactive experiences.
On Saturday night, Nov. 9, the season home-opener for the official NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls featured end-to-end activities for fans of all ages.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Night and Dia de los Muertos, fans streaming into the arena were presented with a Sugar Skull bobblehead doll, a promotional giveaway from BMO Harris Bank.
As the Cielito Lindo Family mariachi band played on the main concourse, children took part in building a Dia de los Muertos mosaic out of Legos. The Dia de los Muertos theme was also featured at a face-painting table and at a colorful altar filled with artwork, candles, photos and historical information about the celebration.
"I love this; it's such a fun experience for our whole family," said 12-year-old Jazmin from Oswego as she stood with her freshly painted face at the Fun Zone -- a fun and games area where younger kids climbed, jumped and bounced all over an air-filled, fun house.
Pregame ceremonies included kids high-fiving players as they came onto the court and standing with players during the playing of "God Bless America" and the national anthem.
As the game began, the raucous crowd cheered the players who wore special "Los Torros" Hispanic Heritage Night black uniforms to battle the Wisconsin Herd.
Throughout the game, furry mascot Gus T. Bull and his T-shirt tossing crew worked the crowd and gave away red Windy City Bulls shirts.
Activities included appearances by the Lake Villa Timberwolves Cheerleading Club and a halftime performance by young dancers with Dance Force Studios. And, a 3-point shooting contest ended with a surprise on-court proposal for the participant Meghan Hujar from her boyfriend Frankie Lavere. (She said yes.)
During the game, the team honored one of its biggest supporters who recently passed away.
Ron Raglin, Assistant Superintendent for Elgin Area School District U-46, was remembered with a special patch on players' jerseys, which were later auctioned off as part of a fundraising effort. A check was presented to Raglin's family members and U-46 colleagues, who accepted the gift to benefit the U-46 educational foundation.
The Windy City Bulls stormed back in a wild second half, but the Herd managed to eke out a 111-102 win. But the fun wasn't over for those still on hand.
Home team players stayed on the court to sign autographs for eager fans coming down from the stands. Fans remained on the court after the autograph session to play "Launch a Ball," tossing numbered balls in a line of buckets for a chance to win prizes.
More than a half-hour after the game, happy fans were still in the arena enjoying the whole experience.
Just another fun-filled night with the Windy City Bulls.