CANTON, OH (August 29, 2012) – The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Pro Football Hall of Fame have named two long-time community volunteers to leadership positions for the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, a milestone year celebrating 50 years of excellence. The world-renowned festival will celebrate the annual enshrinement of football players, coaches, and contributors into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, “America’s Premier Sports Museum and Showplace!”
Joe Halter, founding partner, chairman and CEO of Canton-based Solmet Technologies, Inc., will serve as general chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber. And for the third consecutive year, Robert J. McFarlane, national sales director of outdoors products division for Bruce Foods Corporation of New Iberia, La., will serve as general chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With the 2012 Enshrinement Festival just a few weeks behind them, strategic planning for the 2013 Enshrinement Festival is already well underway. The collaborative efforts of this leadership team, combined with the professional staffs at the Canton Regional Chamber and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the dedicated team of more than 4,200 extraordinary community volunteers, will ensure the success of this special celebration. The tentative dates for the 2013 events will be announced and available shortly at www.profootballhofef.com.
Halter will lead the chairmen of 26 Canton Regional Chamber committees, who hold in excess of 350 meetings throughout the year, to attend to the massive details of planning and staging several Enshrinement Festival events. He brings first-hand experience to the position as a result of his years of service on the Board of Directors of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, including serving as chairman in 2006. His passion for the Enshrinement Festival runs deep, and his current service as a member of the board of directors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame allows him to bring a unique and energizing perspective to the joint planning efforts between the organizations. A graduate of Ohio University, he is on the board of directors of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and previously served as a board member for Goodwill Industries of East Central Ohio. Halter has a strong dedication to the arts, service organizations and business community, and is currently active in Rotary Club of Canton, Stark Development Board and the Aultman Health Foundation board of directors. He and his wife, Nancy, reside in Canton and have two grown children and two grandchildren.
McFarlane will lead the chairmen of 11 Pro Football Hall of Fame committees in planning and implementing additional Enshrinement Festival events, including the central focus of the entire festival, the Enshrinement Ceremony, as well as the NFL Hall of Fame Game and the First Play event. McFarlane also will lead the support committees that assist the Pro Football Hall of Fame in providing hospitality to the Class of 2013 Enshrinees, returning Hall of Famers and their families. He is a 20-year veteran of the Hall of Fame Hospitality Committee, having served as chairman for 11 years.
In addition to his volunteer work with the Hall of Fame committee, McFarlane is past-chairman of the Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic Invitational Committee, past-president of Wishes Can Happen, Inc., co-founder and past-president of Jackson Township Jaycees, JCI senator and ambassador, included in Outstanding Young Men of America, and retired football official after 26 years. He has been very involved in Jackson Township, where he resides and has served as a volunteer fireman as well as involvement in the formation of the Jackson Township Police Department. He is a graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in management. He and wife Sharon are proud of daughter Kelly and son-in-law Scott.
ABOUT THE ENSHRINEMENT FESTIVAL & 50TH ANNIVERSARY
While nearly 21,000 men have played in at least one National Football League game, there are only 273 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; this number will be increased by not more than seven and not fewer than four when the Class of 2013 is announced Feb. 2 during Super Bowl weekend. The central focus and highlight of the festivities will be the induction ceremony for the Class of 2013 Enshrinees, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3, at Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium.
Added excitement and activities will abound in 2013 as both organizations work collaboratively to celebrate 50 years of success since the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened its doors on Sept. 7, 1963, and the first Enshrinement Festival events were held that year. Since then, more than nine million fans have visited the Hall, which over the years expanded from its original 19,000 square feet to 85,000 square feet. It is now in its second and final phase of the $27 million “Future 50” Expansion and Renovation Project that will be completed in time for the 50th Anniversary in 2013, expanding the Hall to 118,000 square feet and setting the museum on course for the future.
Likewise, the annual Enshrinement Festival has expanded from its original four small events to 19 diverse events over a two and a half week period, enjoyed by nearly 700,000 people and producing an economic impact of over $31 million for the Canton/Stark County area and nearly $56 million for the State of Ohio. In addition, millions of people experience aspects of the Enshrinement Festival as events are televised and covered by other media.
With a record of success for the past 49 years, the Enshrinement Festival has earned its reputation as “A One of a Kind Celebration!”