It was the only package Natalie Bushaw opened on her birthday, and it didn't disappoint.
It was her Super Bowl Crew 52 uniform, a major haul of technical clothing and winter gear worth hundreds of dollars.
"It was the perfect gift," she said.
Like more than 10,000 other volunteers, Bushaw had been anticipating this moment ever since spying the uniforms at Crew 52 orientation in November. She and her fellow volunteers picked up their uniforms last week upon completing their training at Crew 52 headquarters — aka the old Sports Authority store in downtown Minneapolis. However, they are not allowed to wear their new clothes until their first volunteer shift.
During the 10-day Super Bowl LII festivities, Bushaw and the others will be stationed at the airport, in the skyways and along the streets of downtown Minneapolis. So the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is outfitting them with eight-piece uniforms designed to keep them comfortable.
That includes a long-sleeve polo, fleece, lightweight puffer and wind-resistant shell jacket. There's also a scarf, socks, stocking cap and pair of "Bold North" mittens.
Most pieces were designed by Target. "Our team of experts had a lot of fun finding special ways to honor our city and state," said Julie Guggemos, Target's senior vice president of product design and development, "from incorporating elements of the Northern Lights to adding a message about kindness."
The Northern Lights reference is most evident in the polo, a purple shirt flecked with tiny stars.
And then there's the unmistakable silhouette of U.S. Bank Stadium, a logo-like graphic unifying all eight pieces.
As for the kindness theme, the ensemble is topped off by a knitted beanie from Minneapolis-based Love Your Melon, which donates a portion of profits to pediatric cancer research. Manufactured by Minnesota Knitting Mills and Softline Brand Partners, with a reflective front safety patch by 3M, the hats are also considered a model of Minnesota craftsmanship.
"Being able to wear this uniform is an honor," Bushaw said. "I think that it's something many of us take very seriously. Even if your volunteer responsibility is to stand by the porta-potty, we are there for a specific reason — to be the real kind of 'Minnesota Nice' and to ensure that people have the best time possible."
When visitors arrive, Bushaw and her fellow volunteers will stand ready to represent their state — through action and uniform.
Christopher Shea is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.