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Continued: It's lights out for Metrodome

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 30, 2013 - 12:02 PM

“We were the first ones in the lot,” Jen­ni Moore said. “We want­ed to make sure we got a spot.”

De­spite the cold and a sting­ing wind, the Moores and friends stayed com­fy with hot chil­i and chick­en wings.

“It’s the end of an era, but it’s been a lot of fun,” said Sara Peulen, a fan from Chisago City, as she tossed pep­pers and po­ta­to skins on a near­by grill.

By 10 a.m., the sweet scent of both waft­ed across the park­ing lot. By 11 a.m., a steady stream of fans hus­tled up the street and through the sta­di­um gates, where ticket holders re­ceived com­memo­ra­tive pur­ple pen­nants.

By the time the Lions kicked off at noon, the crowd was in a tiz­zy. For the next three hours fans cheered and groaned and cuss­ed and pumped fists in a game that was more rou­tine than re­mark­able.

But to most watch­ing, the de­tails didn’t seem to mat­ter.

“This is his­to­ry going down,” said Pat­ti Lang, 35, who grew up in Bloomington but now lives in Or­e­gon. “It’s a big deal.”

“This is our child­hood,” said her friend, Alissa Thorsland, of Hopkins. “We grew up here.”

Three hours later, the Vi­kings trot­ted off the ar­ti­fi­cial turf for a fi­nal time with a one-point vic­to­ry, thanks large­ly to rook­ie Cordarrelle Patterson, who ran 50 yards for one touch­down and caught a short pass for an­oth­er score late in the game to de­liv­er the win.

As the fi­nal gun sound­ed, fans rose to cheer and sa­lute. Cellphone cam­eras flashed. Some fans blew kiss­es. Oth­ers sang “Skol Vi­kings” and raced out the re­volv­ing doors, slap­ping their palms against the exit sign to Kir­by Puck­ett Place.

“This sta­di­um, even ­though it might not have been per­fect, it was us,” form­er Vi­kings cen­ter Matt Birk said in a brief, postgame cer­e­mo­ny at mid­field.

A personal souvenir

High in the se­cond deck, sis­ters Shawn Schmitz, 43, of St. Louis Park and Nat­a­lie Craw­ford, 40, of Bil­lings, Mont., pulled out a pur­ple and gold boa and be­gan pluck­ing feath­ers. Their moth­er had made the boa for Craw­ford, a self-de­scribed “se­ri­ous Vi­kings fan,” more than 20 years ago.

But now, the sis­ters thought it only fit­ting to leave it behind.

As a fi­nal round of fire­works sound­ed and fans head­ed to the ex­its, the sis­ters picked the boa clean, toss­ing each feath­er over the side of the se­cond deck rail­ing, flut­tering to the seats be­low.

“Yeah,” Craw­ford said as she teared up, “it’s kind of sad.”

“It’s very sad,” Schmitz said as she hugged her sis­ter. “But we thought we’d leave the feath­ers. It seems only fit­ting that they stay here and go down with the Dome.”

 

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