Orioles FanFest: A Recap
This past Saturday, I packed up my little one and headed over to the Baltimore Convention Center for Orioles FanFest. For me, FanFest unofficially marks the beginning of baseball season – In my eyes, it officially begins when the Ravens end their playoff run, so the dates almost coincided this year. As it was my first trip to FanFest in a couple of years and my first as a parent,
I wasn’t really sure what I expected to experience in my outing. (Back in my college days, I used to pregame FanFest across the street at the Wharf Rat/Sliders/Pickles with my friends. It made the Q&A sessions with the coaching staff and front office officials very interesting, I can tell you that!) As my daughter is less than a year old, I wasn’t expecting there to be too much for her to do. However, I was hoping that there was more stuff that I could experience that didn’t involve shelling out some dough.
Here are my observations on the day:
- It was f’ing HOT in the Convention Center. Seriously. I was sweating my ass off.
- I got there later than I wanted to, so I expected it to be a little crazy. The lines for all of the activities were miles and miles long. We jumped into the Oriole Bird line while he was on break, and thank goodness we did. The line easily quadrupled in size once he appeared.
- The picture with the Oriole Bird was basically the only activity that we participated in. Like I said, there’s not much you can do with an infant, ha ha!
- I missed most of the more interesting panel discussions. Of course, I would have loved to have been in on the outfield one, but that’s what I get for getting there late. I would have also liked to participate in the blogger panel, but I digress…
- I’m not into autographs, so I wasn’t worried about purchasing any of the autograph vouchers. I appreciate that the money from those sales goes to charity, but I still think it’s ridiculous that you have to not only purchase a ticket to get into FanFest, but also an autograph voucher where there is a very serious chance that you only want one of the three signatures offered in each group. A team with a losing streak like the Orioles should be doing whatever they can to enhance the fan experience, and going back to free autographs would be a good start.
- Everyone loves free stuff, and that is especially true at FanFest, where everyone’s swag bags were bursting at the seams… If you got there early enough, ha ha! Seriously, though, I think that it’s awesome that they gave away lots of leftover promotional gear. Those lines can be a killer on certain game days, so it gives people who might have showed up even a few minutes late the opportunity to get some missed swag.
- There were a variety of vendors selling goods. I wish that I had more time to check out Dana Hoiles’ jewelry
– I saw some cute pink backpacks floating around the floor, and am bummed that I missed out on my home plate pendant! (If anyone wants to get me a Valentine, check out www.danahoiles.com – I love her stuff!)
- There were plenty of things to do for the younger Orioles fans – Moon bounces, running the bases, etc. There was even a bingo game set up, which I believe was for all fans. If you were a 5-year old, there was no way that you weren’t having a good time!
- The minor league teams had a sweet set-up by the entrance. They were also offering giveaways, selling season tickets, etc.
- Clubhouse tours were offered, as well. It was a nice throw-in for those who don’t have the luxury of experiencing the stadium as often as others.
Here’s a little feedback from my Twitter followers:
“Def. a smaller crowd compared to years past.” - @rickybarbie
“I feel like it targeted younger fans which is great. there wasn't too much for adults to do. I saw alot of bored parents..” - @Sean_Deere
“I looked at the blog panel list. Weird that neither of us were there. Also where was Moroz (@CamdenCrazies)?” - @CamdenDepot (I included this one in hopes that we score invites next year, ha ha!)
Overall, it was a different FanFest experience for me, but not one that would detract me from going in the future. It’s nice to have a reason to put on my orange and black in the winter!
* Photo from Orioles.com