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Legendary Fun for Fans & Families

Experience the Magic of Canton’s Hall of Fame Village with Adventures for All Ages

Article by Kristen Hampshire

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Whether you’re a football fanatic, foodie, thrill seeker, shopper or lover of the great outdoors, you’re sure to find your heart’s desire at Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Village, where dining, unwinding, celebrating and socializing take center field.

From the Play-Action Plaza, which offers exciting rides, to the Fan Engagement Zone, which includes a promenade of retail shops and restaurants, you’ll want to plan your next trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located next door, with plenty of time to spare.

“We liken Play-Action Plaza to Central Park’s green space,” says Anne Graffice, executive vice president of global marketing and public affairs for Hall of Fame Village. “With 3 acres of tiered, elevated space, it is anchored by some cool features that are fun for the whole family.”

Anne points out, “No one can miss the Ferris wheel – it came from the I-X Center and has a lot of history. It was an indoor piece, so we importantly made sure it was incredibly safe and refurbished it to be outdoors, and now it’s one of the best views of Canton you can find.”

Throughout Play-Action Plaza and the Fan Engagement Zone, families can find restaurants, shopping, interactive games and “outdoor spaces for people to just be,” Anne says.

You can pack in a full day or weekend – or taste the fun for a few hours and plan a return. “It’s not just one and done,” Anne says. “You can eat at Don Shula’s American Kitchen, spend a day at the museum, then take a zipline ride."

Fun for the Family

Aside from a bird’s-eye view of Canton from the Red Zone Giant Wheel – the nostalgic, swiftly-spinning Ferris wheel – the Forward Pass zipline runs the extent of the Play-Action Plaza grounds. “If you’re into thrill rides, it’s a couple minutes of pure adrenaline rush,” Anne says.

Opening soon is a third ride called Spike It. “Think of a smaller version of Cedar Point’s Demon Drop,” Anne relates. “It takes you up and down and has eight different programs, so you never know which one you’re going to get.”

Beyond the rides, Hall of Fame Village hosts a range of activities, including movie nights, concerts, yoga and other special events. Visitors can enjoy a host of free games like cornhole and other yard sports. For adults, beer pong tables add some spirit to the experience.

“Built into the hill are beautiful stone sitting areas, and the entire space is designed so we can have all types of activities and engagement there,” Anne says. “There are lots of ways for folks to really relax and enjoy being outdoors.”

Dine & Do

Retail, restaurants and entertainment await in the Fan Engagement Zone, with recent introductions including The Brew Kettle and the first Topgolf Swing Suites in Ohio, with Full Swing simulators and games for non-golfers.        

“With our Swing Suites, you can play games for all ages and interests,” Anne says. “You can throw a baseball or a football, and even chase zombies.”

The rooftop of The Brew Kettle overlooks Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. A menu of scratch-made dishes includes flatbreads, salads, wraps, burgers and sandwiches, along with some of the region’s best craft beers.

At Don Shula’s American Kitchen, the renowned coach’s concept serves up fresh flavors in a casual atmosphere with an extensive wine and beer menu. The restaurant tells the story of his journey, as the NFL’s winningest head coach with 347 career victories and 328 regular season victories.

Soon, veteran-owned Perfect Pour, which features specialty cocktails, bourbon, burgers and cigars will open, as will NFL Hall-of-Famer Isaac Bruce’s food truck concept, SMOOSH Cookies. Its gourmet ice cream sandwiches are made from fresh-baked cookies, premium ice cream and loads of “crazy toppings.”

Another hot spot for those with a sweet tooth is Heggy’s Nut Shop, a longtime Stark County proprietor of snacks that include fresh-roasted nuts and Ben Heggy’s fine chocolates. The family-owned business will offer all of the hometown favorite treats, 73 years in the making, at the Hall of Fame Village shop.

Take a souvenir home from Build-a-Bear Workshop, which is the only location where you can dress the plushies in football clothes. “You can’t do that anywhere else,” Anne says. “We are trying to bring a unique spin to everything we do.”

With a food truck zone on both sides of the Fan Engagement Zone, tailgating areas, outdoor patios, TVs and concessions that include on-tap beer and wine, families can build their own adventure and cater it to their favorite ways to spend time.

Currently under construction, a new 147,000-square-foot football-themed waterpark will offer a waterslide tower, lazy river, wave pool, zero-entry fun zone, swim-up bar and outdoor entertainment area.

Anne adds of developments coming soon: “There are many more exciting things to come!”

For more information, visit HOFVillage.com.

“Built into the hill are beautiful stone sitting areas, and the entire space is designed so we can have all types of activities and engagement there. There are lots of ways for folks to really relax and enjoy being outdoors.”

“We are trying to bring a unique spin to everything we do.”

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