Get your most comfy shoes and wallet ready. Grab some sunscreen. Borrow your friends kids if you don’t have any of your own. The San Francisco Giant’s annual Fan Fest will be held Saturday, February 1, 2014 at AT&T Park from 10am – 3pm.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) January 1, 2014
If you’ve been to Fan Fest, you can probably stop reading now, but don’t! We’d like to hear from you in the comments.
If you HAVEN’T been to Fan Fest, then this post is for you.
First, look closely at the picture at the top of this post and count the number of people. Too many? Well, get used to it because Fan Fest is crowded. The above picture is from 2011, the year after a World Series win, so on the plus side, you’ll probably have a few less bandwagoners there this year. All the same, wear your deodorant and pray that everyone else wears theirs as well.
Ask yourself this question: Have you ever been? If yes, you can make a decision on your own, but I’d look at that picture again to remind yourself of what you’re getting into. If no, ask yourself this question: Do you like really large crowds? I mean, seriously large. If yes, well, then go for it. If no, maybe consider skipping it for something like spring training or a nice stadium tour.
If you are bound and determined to go (and everyone should go at least once)then here are some tips from my experience.
- If you plan on buying tickets there, plan on only doing that unless you can sucker your fiancé to stand in line for you like I did. He was literally in line for the entire time we were there. No bueno.
- If you’re standing in line yourself, get there well before the gates open to get in line. Get a good spot to get into the park and make a beeline for wherever they are selling tickets this year. It could even be outside the park.
- Don’t have very high expectations for getting a lot of autographs (but having kids with you help). Those lines are extremely long. Unless you are super aggressive and willing to cut line in front of small children, I’d pick your favorite and wait it out. The only player I got close enough to to even get a close up picture of was Eli Whiteside, and that wasn’t even in an autograph line.
- Wear sunscreen, as it’s typically a nice day.
Now, here is the good part. I figured out quickly that my best bet was to walk the field and bases and stand where the Giants spend the season playing. Go out in right field, it really is like a black hole out there. Enjoy the sunshine. Enjoy the kids and take in the surroundings.
My favorite part was the player interviews. At some point during the day, or maybe all day, KNBR has a stage set up around home plate. Grab a nice seat in the stands behind home plate, the place us common folk rarely get to sit without shelling out a paycheck or two, and listen to the interviews. It was hands down the best part of Fan Fest for me. Watching the players talk, live, right in front of you, is an awesome experience. If you have a good camera, you’re going to get some really good shots too. Just make sure to take the stalker lense.
So, my advice is this, don’t have high expectations and expect large crowds of sweaty people. Don’t make it about the commercialism part like the tickets (there are always tickets on stubhub, craigslist and on those crazy scalpers) and the autographs (though autographs are awesome), but enjoy actually being on the field and seeing things in a way you don’t get to during the season. If you want autographs, go to Spring Training.
Oh, and it’ll be one of the few times you won’t have to pay to get into AT&T Park. Take advantage of it and soak in the beautiful atmosphere. Or stay home and go to Spring Training like I’ll be doing.
Update: McCovey Cove Dave has added some great tips here!
Fanfest helps me get through the Winter and I would not miss it. If you want signatures, come early. The best strategy for signatures is to run to the top level where there are 2-3 signature booths. No one wants to do the stairs, but if you do, you can do at least 2 signatures booths in less than 1/2 hour. I do that every year and I’m not a young buck. If you want to get on TV, bring a big Giants sign as you wait in line and wave it as channel 2.4.5 and 7 make the rounds! I like to play catch with my buddies every year in the outfield so bring you mitts and a ball. Since I am a McCovey Cove kayaker and rarely get inside, one of the things I enjoy is to sit in my different seats during the day. I always go and sit at spots like the Splash Camera as I look at that camera all year long! See everyone there! McCovey Cove DAVE