Sponsors of the Packers Tailgate Tour stop in Merrill are looking to see tickets sell out and raise a substantial amount for the River Bend Trail.
“As a conservative estimate, we’re hoping to raise $50,000 for the River Bend Trail,” said Jeremy Cordova, president of the Merrill Rotary Club, which is hosting the tour stop in Merrill. 
At each stop on the Tailgate Tour, a worthy community cause receives all proceeds from the event. The Packers organization carefully considers the causes when planning its stops, Cordova said. The River Bend Trail met the Packers’ criteria, he added.
The Tailgate Tour stop in Merrill will be held at the MARC from 12:30-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 19.
Tickets went on sale Friday, Feb. 28 in Merrill at Drew’s Piggly Wiggly, Dave’s County Market and the Merrill Chamber office (Thursdays and Fridays only) or online at www.merrillchamber.org. A limited number of 650 tickets are available at $30 each, which include a question and answer session with the Packers, autograph session (one item per ticket, either complimentary souvenir or personally brought) and complimentary food and drink. An unlimited number of $5 tickets include the question and answer session only. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Cordova said Monday that ticket sales were going very well. 
“We don’t anticipate having any trouble selling out,” he said. “We are getting inquiries from all over the state.”
The tour stop has also attracted a number of corporate sponsors from the Lincoln County area.
“The response has been really positive,” Cordova said.
For its end of the bargain, the Rotary Club will be providing the manpower to run the event. Cordova said the club will need more than 40 volunteers and will be recruiting from outside the club membership.
Featured Packers include: President/CEO Mark Murphy; Packer Hall of Fame Inductees Paul Coffman (1976-1985 tight end), James Lofton (1978-1986 wide receiver), Lynn Dickey (1976-1985 quarterback); and current Packers Mason Crosby (2007-present kicker), Jarrett Bush (2006-present cornerback) and Brad Jones (2009-present linebacker).
The doors of the MARC will open at 11:30 a.m. There will be activities for kids and families. Raffle prizes will be available. The Merrill High School band and cheer team will perform. Food and beverages will be available.
The Packers will arrive at the MARC at 12:30 p.m. in a customized coach emblazoned with the logo “Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour” and the phrase “Touching Down in Your Community.” The question and answer session is scheduled for 12:30-1 p.m., with the autograph session for $30 ticket holders following from 1-3 p.m.
The River Bend Trail is slated to be built on the abandoned Canadian National railroad bed between downtown and the West side. The city took ownership of the railroad right of way last year, purchased with funds raised by the River District Development Foundation of Merrill.  The Foundation is continuing its fund raising efforts with construction of the trail anticipated to start this year.