RICHMOND, Va. — Fan Appreciation Day brought thousands of Redskins fans from around the mid-Atlantic to Richmond, Virginia, for a chance to cheer on the Washington Redskins during training camp.
More than an hour before the gates opened, hundreds of people stood in line with the hopes of getting a good spot inside the Bon Secours facility where the Redskins practice. They had memorabilia ready for autographs and phones ready to snap pictures.
The day featured performances by the Redskinettes and the team’s marching band, along with games and contests among fans, in the hours leading up to an afternoon practice.
“It’s like a big family reunion, you know?” said David Karl, of Chesapeake, Virginia. “I don’t even know these people, but at the end of the day, we’re all brothers and sisters.”
Fan Appreciation Day has traditionally brought out many fans like Karl who are from Virginia’s Tidewater area.
North Carolina is also well-represented year after year, as the Redskins still maintain a strong fan base through the south — a result of many years where they were the southernmost team in the NFL.
“We really like what they do here. They really do make it a fun experience for everybody,” said Rick Fonner, who grew up in D.C. but now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It really does make you feel like you’re part of the team.”
“I’m a die-hard fan,” said Marcus Banks, of Lynchburg, Virginia. “I wanted to get here, so I could get a good spot, relax a little bit.”
Banks held up a football bearing some autographs, with the intent of getting more so he could “get this up in the mancave.”
“I like being around the fans,” he said. “I like being around the players.”
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