City:Raleigh, North Carolina
When did you establish your fan club and how has it grown over the years?
The fan club was established in 2004. We started off with a few New England transplants who had moved to the area. We did not know each other beforehand, but quickly our love of the New England Patriots bonded us. The group has just grown and grown from there. We have now been around so long that the "little kids" are in college and hanging out every game day.
Tell us about your meeting place.
We meet at the Brickhouse, which is located right on the NCSU and Meredith College campus. It's a large location, with 10 huge TV screens. They've been great sponsors of our events, which are always fun and family friendly. On game day we usually have between 200 and 300 Patriots fans out and had more than 500 people for Super Bowl Sunday.
What are some of your past highlights?
Each year, we travel with our sister groups from Arizona and Memphis to Foxborough. In October, we will make our ninth trip home for the Jets game.
We also tie a lot of charity work in with our fan club. Annually, we have a food drive for the North Raleigh Ministries pantry and we challenge fan clubs of other teams to get involved too. Last year our group collected almost 2 tons of food in one afternoon the week before Thanksgiving. Other initiatives include a Toys for Tots drive and breast cancer awareness fundraiser.
What events are you planning for the upcoming season?
We will be having our annual fan appreciation event on August 22 at the Brickhouse, along with a Free Brady rally. We will have former players at the event.
Then on August 28, for the preseason game against the Panthers, we will be at Charlotte-area bar Beantown Tavern. Super Bowl champion Antwan Harris will be there to meet fans, and everyone is invited to join us.
What advice would you give to new fan clubs?
Include everyone and have fun. The most important part of the fan club is the relationship with the venue. It's also important to realize that there are casual fans and fanatics but that everyone appreciates the camaraderie.
To find a fan club or bar in your area, visit the Patriots Official Fan Club and Bar Registry.