CINCINNATI - Before the Reds get serious at the Baseball Winter Meetings next week in Nashville, fans can have a little fun at the team’s official annual winter warm-up event.
Redsfest takes over the Duke Energy Convention Center for a 10th year on Friday and Saturday.
The event, presented by PNC Bank, features more than 300,000 square feet of activities, including autograph and photo booths with current and former Reds, interactive games for fans of all ages, game-used and authentic memorabilia and more.
Reds COO Phil Castellini said it’s a great way to re-energize fans after a disappointing 64-98 finish to the 2015 season and hopefully excite them about the future. The event helps connect fans with the team during the offseason, while also supporting outreach programs through the Reds Community Fund, which benefits from the proceeds of the event.
“It’s a great way to bridge the winter months,” Castellini said. “You take a little time off after the season, you have Redsfest in December, Caravan in January and players report to spring training in February, so it really helps us keep baseball in the front of mind all year long.”
More than 80 current players and coaches, minor leaguers and broadcasters are scheduled to attend, including Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton, Zack Cozart and Bryan Price. Reds Hall of Famers and alumni also are scheduled, including new additions like Lou Piniella, Corky Miller, Dmitri Young and Greg Vaughn.
Here are the Top 9 things you don’t want to miss at Redsfest:
- Entry giveaways: Who doesn’t like free stuff? The first 11,000 fans each day at Redsfest (basically everyone) will receive a free Reds drawstring bag and a Mr. Redlegs knit cap, so don’t let your excitement about what’s inside make you miss the free handouts on your way in.
- Autograph sessions: There will be more than 100 player autograph and photo sessions available free of charge with a general admission ticket. The Reds estimate about 22,000 autographs will be signed in three types of sessions: general public, season ticket members only and kids only. Once you enter the main floor exhibit space, check the info screens to see times for specific player appearances, which will be announced 30 minutes prior to the sessions. Fans can also find that information through the @Reds Twitter account or via text alerts by texting REDSFEST to 66128. For each autograph session, the player will sign only for the first 225 people to get in line, so be sure to stay aware of the time schedules and get in line fast.
- Photo sessions: Photo sessions will be open for 50 minutes each, allowing as many fans through as possible. Booth No. 1 takes the photo for you and provides a printout on the spot for a $10 donation to the Reds Community Fund. Booth No. 2 and 3 are free and require you to bring your own camera. Booth No. 4 is free to Reds Season Ticket Members.
- Main stage highlights: See everyone at once at 5:30 p.m. Friday when current and former players will be introduced to the crowd. Then, be sure to catch Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams on the Hot Stove Report at 7:10 p.m. For those going Saturday, Jocketty and Williams will have a do-over at 11:30 a.m. Food lovers looking for something less baseball centered will find entertainment in the Redsfest Cooking Show featuring “Chopped” champion and Great American Ball Park executive chef James Major at 8:35 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Two members of the Harlem Globetrotters will perform at 4:35 p.m. Friday and 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
- Play ball: Test your baseball skills in the fan activities such as speed pitch, batting cages and base-running, or play some ball at the two Wiffle ball fields on the main floor. The Coca-Cola Reds Rookie Field is designed for younger kids and will provide “open swing” time during the event. A variety of activities will take place on the Gorilla Glue Field of Dreams, including open swing (3-5 p.m. Friday and 6-6:30 p.m. Saturday), a Celebrity Home Run Derby (5-6:30 p.m. Friday) and other fundamental learning sessions. For the full schedule, visit: http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/fan_forum/redsfest.jsp?loc=indoor.
- Fun for kids: Kids will find all the entertainment they need upstairs. Be sure to check out the Reds Heads Fun Zone on the third floor for more than 20,000 square feet of kids activities, including a batting cage, high-speed pitch, bounce houses, trampolines, arcade games, kids story time (where players will read to them), a photo opportunity with Santa Claus and various stage performances. It’s also the best place to sign up young Reds fans for the 2016 Reds Heads Kids Club, Reds Rookie Baby Club and Club Red Teen Club. The second floor holds several activities for Reds Season Ticket Members, such as the mascot visiting rooms and the new 18-hole putt putt course.
- The Reds Connect Zone: Stop by to get a free photo in one of the three photo booths in the Reds Connect Zone, charge your phone for free and see Reds players and staff members taking part in live interviews with the Reds on the Radio affiliate network. There also are booths with information on spring training, the Reds Community Fund and Reds Fantasy Camp.
- Reds Hall of Fame: The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum will display World Series trophies and Reds artifacts and hold Reds trivia and autograph sessions with Reds Hall of Famers. The 700WLW Reds on Radio flagship station will broadcast live from the Hall of Fame Stage on Friday night.
- Let’s go shopping: Looking to do some holiday shopping for fellow Reds fans – or yourself? Find Reds merchandise and apparel in the team shop and game-used merchandise in the Reds Authentic area, or purchase season tickets and Holiday Gift Packs at the Reds Tickets booth in the center of the main floor. Also be sure to check out the Topps Memorabilia Gallery to find an array of items from local vendors. It’s perfect for window shoppers, too.
Redsfest Schedule And Facts
When: 3-10:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Duke Energy Convention Center
Ticket prices: Adults -- $25 for two-day pass, $17 for one-day pass; Kids (ages 12 and younger) -- $12 for two-day pass, $7 for one-day pass. Children 3 and under are free. Passes include a free ticket (one per day pass) to April 10 game vs. the Pirates.
Where to buy tickets: In the main lobby at Great American Ball Park, by phone at 513-381-REDS, online at www.reds.com/redsfest, Ticketmaster locations at participating Kroger stores or at the Duke Energy Center, starting 9 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.
Proceeds benefit: The baseball-themed outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund
What you can bring: Small bags and purses are allowed but no luggage or rolling duffel bags larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches are permitted. Strollers are allowed, but may not inhibit guest movement or block aisles. There is a coat check for $2.
Main Stage Schedule
4:35 p.m. Harlem Globetrotters exhibition
5:30 p.m. Introduction of Reds players past and present
6:30 p.m. Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Kroger
7:10 p.m. Hot Stove Report, presented by FOX Sports Ohio featuring Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams
8:05 p.m. 2015 Team Awards
8:35 p.m. Redsfest Cooking Show featuring “Chopped” champion and GABP executive chef James Major, presented by DNC Sportservice
9:10 p.m. Reds Feud, presented by The Ohio Lottery
11:30 a.m. Hot Stove Report presented by FOX Sports Ohio featuring Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams
12:30 p.m. Redsfest Cooking Show featuring “Chopped” champion and GABP executive Chef James Major, presented by DNC Sportservice
1:05 p.m. Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Kroger
1:45 p.m. Harlem Globetrotters exhibition
2:10 p.m. Cincinnati Ballet
3:30 p.m. Game Show, presented by CDK Global
4:20 p.m. Reds Alumni “Bull Session,” presented by Majestic
5:10 p.m. Reds Feud, presented by The Ohio Lottery
GET Redsfest maps and more information here.