The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have named the following key committee chairs: Cathy Wyatt, Pigskin Run; Mike King, Concert and Fireworks; Guy Ruda, Enshrinement; and Gina Bannevich, Fan Parties.
Wyatt is a graduate of Lake High School and attended Kent State University. She is owner/operator of two Carpe Diem Coffee Shops and is President of the Palace Theatre Board. A Leadership Stark County graduate, she serves on the Stark Community Services Women’s Impact Board and the Canton Development Partnership Board of Architectural Review. She has been a member of the Pigskin Run committee for five years, and this is her first as chairman. She and husband Patrick have one daughter and one son.
Vice chairman Susan Bodnar is assisting Wyatt and working closely with the committee to make some great adjustments to this year’s event. The courses will be slightly revised and recertified in order to accommodate both the start and finish on the campus of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, providing fantastic photo opportunities.
Formerly known as the 2-Mile and 5-Mile Races, the Pigskin Run race distances will remain the same. Both serious and recreational runners are welcome to participate in the 2-Mile run, 5-Mile run, or 5-Mile Competitive Walk divisions. Race day registration will be available, but at an increased cost, so participants are encouraged to register now and save at http://bitly.com/2014races. Cash and/or other prizes will be awarded to top finishers in the three categories. Kids six and under are encouraged to participate in the free Kids Fun Run which kicks off the morning’s festivities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In celebration of the name change, a Pigskin Run “High School Pride Award” is being launched. When registering for the Pigskin Run, registrants will have the opportunity to cast their vote for the name of the high school they proudly support. The high school garnering the most support will receive a traveling award that they get to keep until the 2015 winner is declared.
King, of King Properties, is a graduate of Hoover High School and attended Kent State University. After serving on the Concert and Fireworks committee for 10 years, this is his second as chairman. Very active in downtown development, he is the recipient of the ArtsinStark Turning Point Award for the Canton Arts District, and five Downtown Canton Special Improvement Awards for downtown developments. He is past chairman and current vice chairman of the Downtown Canton Special Improvement District and has served on numerous downtown and housing boards and committees. He is a founding member and past president of the Stark County Real Estate Investors Association as well as a member of the Lake Cable Recreation Association. He and wife Mary Ellen are parents to two daughters and two step-daughters.
King, vice chairman Jeff Burner, and their team will be attending to the many details involved with this event on the evening of Saturday, July 26. A variety of activities are planned at the Cornerstone Square area in the vicinity of Tuscarawas Street and Walnut Avenue and will begin at 6 p.m. with food and family fun, including face painting, balloon artists, costumed characters and crafts for the kids in the Chesapeake Energy Family Fun Zone. Musical entertainment will include Jimmy and the Soul Blazers, and the festivities will conclude with an incredible pyrotechnic display launched from the Cornerstone Square parking deck approximately 10 p.m. – featuring the magic of Zambelli, “the First Family of Fireworks!”
Ruda, a sales associate for R. Z. Marketing Group, is serving his 14th year as chairman of the Enshrinement Ceremony Committee. He previously served 18 years as a member of the committee, as well as three years as chairman of the former NFL Experience Committee. Ruda and his wife Gail are the proud parents of David and Danielle.
Ruda and his team of volunteers prepare the facilities and programming for staging, seating and logistics of the Enshrinement Ceremony program. Assisting him will be co-vice chairmen Terry Coyne for planning and Dave McRoberts for facilities. The Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2014 football greats will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. at Fawcett Stadium. The stellar Class of Enshrinees includes linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones, wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive end Michael Strahan, and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams.
Bannevich graduated from Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School and University of Mount Union and completed coursework at the Corporate University at Kent State University. She is currently marketing director at Belden Village Mall. A member of the Fan Appreciation Tailgate Party committee since 2002, this is her third year as chairman. Her community volunteer includes The Golden Key for Exceptional Children, Greater Northeast Ohio ALS Walk Group and chapter volunteer, and a member of International Council of Shopping Centers. She and husband Jason have a son and a daughter.
There are five fantastic fan parties that are held on Hall of Fame grounds. Friday, fans from across the nation will enjoy an exclusive event prior to the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Ceremony. Following a reception guests will have exclusive after-hours access to the museum and view the Gold Jacket Ceremony via a broadcast.
New this year will be the Legends Club VIP Enshrinement Tailgate Party that will be on both Saturday and Sunday and will include four Pro Football Hall of Famers — the party of a lifetime for the game’s most elite fans to enjoy.
Also this year the traditional Fan Appreciation Parties will be a great opportunity for football fans from all across the nation to get ready for The Enshrinement Ceremony and the big game featuring the Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants. Saturday and Sunday Fan Parties always include great food and refreshing beverages in typical tailgate fashion as a deejay plays party music.
Bannevich is assisted by Valerie Nash.