Lehigh preps for Eagles' training camp

PHILADELPHIA - July 26, 2011

The Eagles will begin camp on Wednesday at Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pa., where the team has held camp since 1996.

Those players will practice for the first time the following afternoon at 3:30 pm.

The first open practice to fans will occur on Saturday, July 30 at 8:05 a.m. Most practices are open to the public and there is no charge for admission or parking.

Fans are permitted on campus no earlier than 6:30 a.m.

Training camp is of course for the Eagles, but it's also an economic shot in the arm for local businesses.

A collective sigh of relief could be heard around Bethlehem on Monday. The lockout is done the Eagles are coming.

That's good news for the local vendors setting up and prepping the practice fields and for pizza places and pubs that visiting fans flock to.

"Any restaurant and any shop in Bethlehem stands to benefit as a result of the camp being here," said Mayor John Callahan.

Mayor Callahan and others attended a ceremonial lunch on Tuesday to toast to training camp kick off.

It's estimated that 80,000 - 100,000 fans will journey to Lehigh in the next couple of weeks and many will stop for a burger and something cold to drink.

They will also be on the lookout for actual Eagles' players.

No one is sure just how much money visiting Eagles' fans spend during camp visits but locals are hoping to convince those who drive up for a day trip to stay a little longer.

"No you can't get everything done in a couple of hours. There is much more to do, so you want them to stay overnight," said Michael Keller of DiscoverLehighValley.com

For businesses in Lehigh, the Eagles bring fans and fans bring money.

Visit the website of the Philadelphia Eagles for the Camp Practice and Autograph Schedule.

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