Two Days at Redsfest
I am a baseball fan. Not just any old baseball fan either. I collect memorabilia and with that, players’ autographs—the ultimate fan’s ultimate achievement!
Recently my family and I visited the Cincinnati Reds’ annual Redsfest, an offseason event that allows fans to interact with Reds players past and present. Redsfest features autograph and photo sessions with players, memorabilia, and games for kids and adults alike.
Redfest is an autograph collector’s dream, but it’s not easy. You have to have a strategy and work your plan.
My dad picked me up early from school the first day, and we headed to the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati. After searching endless parking lots to find a spot, we entered the convention center a half hour before the official start of Redsfest, only to find that hundreds of collectors had beat us there!
I had a list of autographs I wanted, with the “must-haves” at the top. My dad and I headed to one of the many TV monitors sprinkled throughout the center to make our plan.
At Redsfest, the monitors show which players and personnel will be at each of the autograph and photo sessions an hour beforehand. Collectors flock to the TVs each hour to plot where they are going next.
As soon as the appearances are revealed, the mad rush begins! Only 250 people are guaranteed an autograph or photo in each line. The rush is to get a prime spot for the player you want most.
A few hours and lots of waiting in line later, my dad and I had autographs from Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitchers Aroldis Chapman (whose pitches top out at 105 mph!) and Mike Leake—three of the players on my list. Check!
The next day, my mom and brother joined us. We divided and conquered and got even more autographs, including one from Joey Votto, this year’s National League MVP. My brother and I pushed our way through a mob of thousands for that one!
We checked out the memorabilia stands, too, and the many booths devoted to Reds sponsors and affiliates. We had tons of fun. Redsfest really is a baseball fan’s dream come true!
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Meggie Zahneis in front of a clubhouse locker at the Cincinnati Reds’ annual Redsfest. (Photo Courtesy Meggie Zahneis)