Redsfest takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The hours are 3-10:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Latest details here.
For those who’ve never attended before, Redsfest is a gigantic indoor fair, including autograph and photo booths with current and former Reds players, interactive games, giveaways, game-used and authentic memorabilia and much, much more. Programming for kids is at the center of Redsfest, including new opportunities this year to interact with all the Reds’ mascots. But it can also be exciting for adult Reds’ fans as well.
The Main Stage is where the “newsy” events take place. On Friday at 5:30 p.m., the Reds team past and present will be introduced. Q&A sessions with players, front office executives and the coaching staff take place from the stage throughout the weekend. They “Coaches Corner Q&A” sessions with Bryan Price scheduled for both nights.
More than 70 current and former Reds players, coaches and broadcasters are scheduled to appear including Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton and new manager Bryan Price. Many Reds Hall of Famers and alumni are expected including Tom Browning, Eric Davis, Dave Parker and Ron Oester. The full list of scheduled attendees is impressive, but conspicuously does not include Brandon Phillips.
One of the regular season ticket packages you can buy at Redsfest is the “Homer Pick-6” plan. It includes a guaranteed Homer Bailey “Dual No-Hitter” Bobblehead (Sat., May 10 vs. Rockies) plus the choice of five additional regular season games. Hard to imagine they’re actively working on trading Homer with his own bobblehead night and ticket package scheduled. The players involved in this promotion the past two seasons were Joey Votto and Aroldis Chapman.
I served as a volunteer at Redsfest several years ago. Most of the volunteer work is mundane, like handing out free baseball cards or working at sponsor booths. But I was assigned a couple golden ticket shifts — the autograph sessions. They were fantastic because I got to work side-by-side with the players for most of an hour.
My impressions of the two players I helped: Chris Dickerson came across as intelligent and outgoing. He related well to autograph seekers of all ages, especially kids. Drew Stubbs was shy and polite. Toward the end of his 45-minute session and a long day, when it would be natural to get anxious about finishing, a young boy came up to the front of the line and said “Drew Stubbs, you’re my favorite player of all.” It clearly affected Drew. Since I was standing right next to him, I asked if he ever got tired of hearing that. He said, “No, not that” and smiled.
If you go to Redsfest this weekend, we’d love to hear about it. I’ll post a Redsfest thread on Friday night and you can share your experiences with the rest of the Nation in the comment section. If you have your picture taken with one of the Reds and want us to post it, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.