It’s that time of year again, when many Minor League Baseball teams are decking the halls with holiday events at ballparks across the country. Here’s a quick look at unique events teams have planned throughout the holiday season.
In this story, we cover offerings from Minor League Baseball and independent baseball. Earlier this week we covered holiday offerings in Major League Baseball ballparks.
The Lansing Lugnuts (Low A; Midwest League) are debuting a brand-new holiday spectacle called Holiday Lights…Stadium Style! This event will run on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 5-9 p.m. from November 16 to December 22. Each of the days will have its own theme, including drink specials on Thirsty Thursday, Family Fridays, and Santa Saturdays. Tickets are $5 per person and children ages six and under are free. Events include a 360 degree walkaround Holiday Light Show (shown above), ornament making, train rides, and visits from Santa.
The Bradenton Marauders (High A; Florida State League) are celebrating the holidays with a Holiday Dash & Drive on December 8. The event will include a 5K, Fun Run, and Longest Drive Competition at Pirate City and River Run Golf Links. There will also be food trucks, pictures, and visits with Marty Claus (Marty is the team’s mascot). Portions of the proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army. Toys donated through Marty’s Toy Drive will also be donated to the Salvation Army.
In what has become an annual holiday staple, the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are once again hosting an ice rink at Greater Nevada Field. The ice rink will be in operation through January 21. For more information about skate rentals, hours of operation, and special events at the rink, visit the Greater Nevada Field Facebook page.
The Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League) are welcoming the Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland to The Ballpark at Jackson. A nightly event that runs through January 6, it features more than one-and-a-half miles of custom displays that are synchronized to music that plays in car radios. In addition, select dates will feature a Santa’s Village operated by the Generals that includes photo opportunities with Santa and films on the ballpark’s videoboard.
Appearances by Santa are an MiLB mainstay every December, with breakfasts and photo-op appearances representing common promotions. A few teams, however, are mixing it up by having Santa arrive at events via helicopter. That includes the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA; Eastern League), who will host their eighth annual Holiday at Hadlock event. The event is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and open to the public. Along with Santa arriving by helicopter, an artist and crafts room, free hot chocolate and cookies, holiday music, a petting zoo, and face painters. Hadlock Field will also be a Toys for Tots drop-off location and there will be a baseball equipment drive that will benefit Baseball Miracles.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short Season A; Northwest League) will also have Santa arrive by helicopter for their holiday event on December 1. Santa will take E-photos with children from noon to 3:00 p.m. Candy canes will also be distributed at the event.
In a first, the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) will host Winter FanFest at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on December 1. Events include behind-the-scenes ballpark tours, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, mascot appearances, and a chance to hit in the batting cages. The Yard Goats are also collecting non-perishable food items for Hands on Hartford’s food pantry.
Dr Pepper Ballpark will host a Winter Wonderland on December 7, giving the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League) a holiday-centric offering. The event runs from 5-9 p.m. and is free with a donation of a toy to Toys for Tots. Activities include photos with Santa, holiday movie on the Jumbotron, the Riders holiday train riders, craft stations, and coloring outposts.
On December 8, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Class AA; Southern League) will host a family holiday event allows attendees to sit on the field or in the seating bowl for videoboard screenings of two Christmas classics: How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. The event will also include pictures with Santa, and Christmas crafts. Admission is $1 per person at the gate or free with one new, unwrapped toy per family that will be donated to the Florida Baptist Children’s Home and One More Child.
An elaborate event is returning to Skylands Stadium—the home of the Sussex County Miners (independent; Can-Am League). The ballpark is set to welcome back fifth annual Christmas Light Show & Village, an event that includes a mile-long drive through light show will be taking place at the ballpark as well as an outdoor Christmas village. The Christmas Light Show & Village runs through December 30.