Downtown bars and businesses taking advantage of front-loaded home football schedule

Downtown Madison bars and businesses say they’re excited to see a front-loaded home schedule for the Badger football team.

Starting with Saturday’s home opener against the Central Michigan Chippewas, the Badgers will play five straight home games.

With five of seven home games taking place in the fall, businesses like Sconnie Bar said they’re trying to take advantage of the weather.

“It’s going to be a lot, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Lucas Simon-Wampler, general manager of Sconnie Bar. “Good weather lets us get people drinking and having fun outside.”

Simon-Wampler said he’s been planning for this season’s home games since the final schedule was released. Each of the seven home games is a chance for him to bring in thousands of people.

“This is really a big time for us, so we like to plan ahead so on the day of the game, we’re all ready for anything,” he said.

Other businesses, like Monroe Street’s Orange Tree Imports, say they’ve increased their red and white inventory.

“People are very loyal to the Badgers,” said Carol “Orange” Schroeder, co-owner of Orange Tree Imports. “They love their red and white, so we have products that we can give as gifts or decorate their own home with.”

Schroeder said this year, her staff are excited to open the home season with no more nearby road construction.

“We’re so happy it’s finished,” she said. “The street looks beautiful, and our customers have come rushing back.”

The Badgers will have a bye week Sept. 14, but Schroeder said even then, the Monroe Street Festival is expected to bring thousands downtown.

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