ADVERTISEMENT

Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Bert Blyleven open Fan Fest with a ribbon-cutting.

Jim Gehrz, Dml - Jim Gehrz

A green painted line with some informational markings runs through a portion of downtown (here along Nicollet Mall) between the Minneapolis Convention Center, site of All-Star FanFest, and Target Field.

Jim Gehrz, DML - Star Tribune

All-Star FanFest opens at Convention Center

  • Article by: Amelia Rayno
  • Star Tribune
  • July 12, 2014 - 8:55 AM

From yoga, to throwing your arm out at the fast-pitch game, to asking questions of baseball royalty, the “world’s greatest indoor baseball theme park” opened Friday morning at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Fan Fest, which runs from Friday through Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, opened its doors to a throng of fans young and old at 9 a.m.

Among the early highlights: Twins legends Rod Carew and Tony Oliva posed for pictures with fans near the entrance to the sprawling space, while Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven put on a pitching clinic for young fans.

Adult tickets are $35, but there is a buy one, get one free offer Friday and other special offers during other days of the Fan Fest.

The five-day FanFest includes artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame, a participatory exhibit detailing the history of baseball in Minnesota, and meet-and-greets with current Twins players and former major league greats, including 11 Hall of Famers — Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield.

Bring your checkbook, your appetite, your yoga pants, your fastball and whatever else you need to take a swing at 400,000 square feet of baseball paradise:

Meet the stars

About 50 baseball legends and current players will be available for photos, Q&A sessions and autographs. Highlights include:

Rod Carew and Tony Oliva: Photos 9 to 9:30 a.m. Friday; Q&A 10 to 10:30 a.m. the same day (and then Oliva again 11:30 a.m. to noon).

Paul Molitor: Autographs 10 to 11:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday; Q&A 1 to 1:30 p.m. Monday; photos 2:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Kent Hrbek: Q&A 3:30 to 4 p.m. and autographs 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

Tom Kelly: Photos 1:30 to 2 p.m and Q&A noon to 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Bert Blyleven: Photos 10 to 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; Q&A 10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Joe Mauer: Photos 9 to 9:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday; Q&A 10 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday; autographs 11:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday.

Sweat a little

Mauer will have a clinic for kids on the FanFest diamond from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Monday.

Other clinics will be held on the diamond throughout the five days, by legends such as Blyleven, Kelly, Hrbek and Molitor.

Fans can swing a bat at the home run derby Monday or in the batting cages, practice their slides on the FanFest field, or test their arms at the pitching station.

Be a champ for a day

Take a picture with the World Series trophy, or create your own trading card.

Free stuff!

On Friday, buy one admission ticket and get another one free.

Daily giveaways include mini-TC Bear bobbleheads to the first 1,000 children under 12 on Friday, “Kids Day” and Twins bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans Monday (Oliva) and Tuesday (Mauer).

NOT-free stuff

A live auction will be held for numerous historic artifacts of the game, including Lou Gehrig’s autographed mitt, circa 1935; Jackie Robinson’s bat, circa 1953; Harmon Killebrew’s 1988 “Babe Ruth Crown” for career achievement; and jerseys of Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Carew, Oliva and Blyleven.

The official All-Star store is packed with gifts and attire that fans can only obtain at this event or with an All-Star ticket to Target Field.

Simulate the real deal

Wonder what the clubhouse and dugout will look like at Target Field on game day? FanFest will show you in spaces designed to mimic the actual thing, complete with each player’s jersey hanging in the locker room.

Eat a hot dog (or something different)

FanFest promises a host of ballpark fare meant to reflect the many unique options served across the country.

Perfect your pose

Each day FanFest will feature a different theme. Saturday is “Family Wellness Day,” during which groups will be encouraged to practice yoga on the Fan Fest Diamond

Find Bigfoot

Firestone’s mega monster truck will be on site, decked out in All-Star fashion.

© 2014 Star Tribune