Bears Cancel ‘Family Fest’ Practice At Soldier Field

CHICAGO (CBS) –- The Chicago Bears on Friday abruptly canceled a practice at Soldier Field that was geared toward families and cited problems with the condition of the grass field at the lakefront stadium.

The team instead sent players to downstate Bourbannais to practice at around 5 p.m. The hundreds of fans who lined up in Chicago for Family Fest were offered refunds for their entry fees and parking. The Bears’ apologetic spokesman said people who went inside the stadium were offered free food and beverages. Fireworks went on as planned Friday evening.

Tim LeFevour, Soldier Field general manager, said the grass at Soldier Field should have been watered more to offset recent heat waves. Gaps could be seen in the grass.

“Player safety is key,” Lefevour said.

WBBM’s Jeff Joniak reports the Chicago Park District, which owns Soldier Field, says it will be financially responsible for the cancellation.

Fans outside the stadium expressed disappointment, calling Family Fest a bit of a fiasco. Bears enthusiasts came from all over.

“Our blood bleeds orange and blue.  So it’s a disappointment that the team’s not here,” Florida resident Lisa Smith said.

CBS 2’s Ryan Baker says the abruptness of the cancellation will be a public-relations problem for the Chicago Bears. It will also help perpetuate longstanding criticisms about the quality of grass surface at Soldier Field.

Soldier Field’s playing surface will be ready for the Chicago Bears Preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 13, the team said.

  • Kevin Nolan

    They should have told people it was cancelled at 5:00 p.m. instead of making them wait an hour and a half before making the announcement. How about letting all of the kids who had their hearts broken into the stadium to get some autographs from their heroes. I was so mad, my kid was waiting all week for this. You blew it Bears worse than any other team has ever.

    • Spoon

      How about directing some of that anger at the Chicago Park District, that apparently couldn’t figure out how to grow grass in the middle of the summer?

  • Denver Deadite

    What a bunch of maroons.

    Hey, Bears, here’s a hint: let field turf be installed, and you won’t have incidents like this.

    • Spoon

      How about the Park District learns to grow grass? I’m down for the turf as well, but this particular instance is more about the PD being overwhelmed by prepping Grant Park for Lollapalooza while being apparently incapable of growing grass in the middle of the summer.

  • kensr

    where is the blame on the Chicago park district all the high priced experts couldn’t figure the grass needed to be watered? Hey RAHM you da boss Who else is to blame


    Perhaps they should have had Konerko open up his portable DVD player and show the Bears that video of him getting hit by a ball in the jaw, but he still wants to continue on with the game!!! ALL IN!!!

  • Jana Santucci-Stilphen

    First the Hall of Fame Game now Family night…You guys are off to a great start! I went to Family fest last year and had Hall of Fame Game tickets for this year, I won’t be buying tickets for the bears again.

    • Spoon

      Right, because the Bears had ANYTHING to do with the HoF game being cancelled…

  • kingfish

    Bear fans are all talk and no action. Stop paying the high prices for tickets and parking and maybe the organization will ge the message that they should start operating like a professional organization.

  • Got Uz Money


  • Obozo

    Typical for Chicago. Gangs and Crooks, just like the President. Losers!!

  • pat

    The Bears and Park District ought to be ashamed. They waited until the very last minute.It was on the 5:00 news, people standing waiting to get in. I feel sorry for all the parents who had to go home with disappointed, crying children. Going to be a long weekend for them.
    And yea, Obozo,keep your political statements where they belong, Jerk! It’s not all about you.

  • mindy

    i also am dissappointed we went to camp the night before then headed to chicago for family night we traveled 4 hrs for this..i might not of been so upset had they announced it at 5 when doors were to open we were in line at 4:30 they finally opened gates at 6:15 got us in stadium then they told us it was canceled. they knew at 5 it was canceled so why not let us in then and tell us instead of waiting another 1 hr 15 min more..

  • Jacob

    Hey Park District why don’t you call the University of Illinois Turf Research Department? I am sure they would be more than happy to help you. Make the call, you obviously need help. Geesh, this is a problem year in and year out.

  • keith ross

    LA is looking for a team…..the LA Bears sounds great to me!

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