For the fifth consecutive year, Ballfest will hit the diamond with a weekend of fun, friends and most importantly some sweltering summer slo-pitch action.
“Slo-pitch is neat in the sense that it’s a really inclusive sport,” organizer and event founder Lindsay Johnston said. “We’re moderate athletes at best, but it’s a really wide variety of ages.”
Johnston started the event with the idea of combining a baseball tournament with a festival atmosphere, hence the name Ballfest. After a few years, the decision was made to condense the event down to a single evening without a host of live entertainment and vendors because they didn’t have the necessary base of teams to support such a venture. However, with registration constantly growing, Johnston is hopeful she can bring back the festival aspect sometime in the future.
“It’s fun first, and the thought is looking ahead to re-introducing the whole festival side of things,” Johnston said. “(We want to) encourage vendors and others to start thinking of this as a good community event to get involved with.”
Ballfest begins the evening of Friday, July 20 with the first few games taking place followed by a players’ dinner and get-together with a DJ and raffle prizes later that night. Then the games start in earnest Saturday (July 21) morning. The always-popular home run derby happens on Saturday at 4 p.m. with playoffs beginning on Sunday and wrapping up by about 6 p.m. Spectators are more than welcome to attend and cheer on the 24 teams and over 250 players, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the baseball diamond itself, for a variety of maintenance and upgrade projects.
“We thought that if we’re growing and improving, so too should the facility that we occupy,” Johnston said. “It’s been nice to see that it’s grown, and that teams do come back, and raising money for the baseball diamond makes so much sense.”