The Faithfulistas kicked off their club in style on Wednesday, holding a launch party atop the terrace at team headquarters as players practiced on the fields below. The club for the Official 49ers Female Faithful already has 300 members and counting, with Wednesday's event featuring the first 50 Faithfulista signups and their guests.
"The Faithfulistas was the vision of our owner Denise DeBartolo York and her daughters, Jenna and Mara, to help grow our female fan base, so it's been great to see this come to fruition," 49ers Marketing Manager Krista Olson said. "Overall, the event went really well and we look forward to hosting more throughout the season."
A fun afternoon full of new connections, music, food and drinks was wrapped up with a unique autograph session with the players as they walked on Forty Niner Way from the field to the locker room. Coach Jim Harbaugh and players like Alex Smith, Joe Staley and Vernon Davis posed for pictures with the Faithfulistas and stopped to chat, signing autographs along the way.
"It was amazing," Faithfulista Gillian Dodds said. "I was so appreciative and grateful for the guys. They all stopped and signed autographs and just to be a part of that down on the field – I'm ready for the season. We're pumped and this just added to it."
While there were many phone numbers exchanged and future tailgate meetings planned, the Faithfulistas also brought together old friends. Dodds enjoyed the evening with her childhood friend Paula Conhain, who recently moved back to the Bay Area. Dodds and Conhain went years without contact, but the Faithfulistas and Facebook helped them to reconnect.
"We've both been Niners fans since we were kids," Conhain said. "I just moved back here from the East Coast so I'm super excited to be here. After last season, this is going to be such a big year, so to get to come back and kick this season off with something like this is really cool."
In all, 100 people took part in the launch party, which wrapped up as the sun went down in Santa Clara. Watching practice up close and personal was quite the experience for the Faithfulistas, but they're looking forward to the upcoming regular season.
"Ever since that unfortunate loss to the Giants, I've been counting down the days until the season kicks off," Dodds said. "Green Bay and Lambeau Field – it doesn't get any better than that. I'm crossing off the days on the calendar until that first game on Sept. 9."
The 49ers initially were hoping for 250 signups through the 2012 season, but the overwhelming support has raised the bar for the Faithfulistas. As a member of the Official 49ers Female Faithful, club members get a T-shirt, spirit beads, a compact and more, while receiving invites to special events.
To sign up and for more information, visit 49ers.com/Faithfulistas