In lieu of a traditional Fan Fest event, the Tampa Bay Rays will host Drive to Opening Day, a new drive-thru event in the Tropicana Field parking lots.
“Presented by Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, Drive to Opening Day” will take place on Saturday, March 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With COVID-19 still prevalent in the Tampa Bay area, the Rays have transformed the preseason event into a drive-thru concept with giveaways, experiences and photo opportunities from fans’ cars. Fan hosts, DJs and mascots Raymond and DJ Kitty will be on hand at stations throughout the event.
To participate in Drive to Opening Day, fans can claim a free ticket for a designated time slot at RaysBaseball.com/Drive, starting on Thursday, March 18 at 10 a.m. Season Members will have the opportunity to claim tickets before the general public. Tickets reserved in advance are free. If space is still available, fans who arrive on the day of the event without a reservation can enter by making a $10 donation to the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund.
For safety and convenience, fans will not need to leave their vehicle for any of the activities and can choose a specific time slot to avoid long lines of cars.
Among the activities and experiences at the event, fans will have the opportunity to take pictures with the American League Championship trophy, wave to Tampa Bay Rowdies mascots Pete and Pinnie and see the Rowdies Eastern Conference Championship trophy while inside their vehicles. The Rowdies station will also feature a limited-edition giveaway. In addition, WDAE’s Zac Blobner and Nick Wize will broadcast live from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
A snack station will have light ballpark fare for fans as they drive. Additional activity stations include presence from Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, FOX Sports Sun, Visit St. Pete Clearwater, Outback Steakhouse and Hooters.
Drive-Thru Event will gather food & raise funds to benefit the Tampa Bay community
While the Rays Fan Fest always has charitable components, this year there is a specific emphasis on serving the local community during the pandemic.
Fans will have the opportunity to donate to 10 Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay’s Cereal for Summer Drive, which works to fight hunger during the summer school break and benefits families in the Tampa Bay community. Suggested donations include cereal, breakfast bars, granola and oatmeal. Each household that donates will receive a surprise Rays promotional item.
The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund will also sell mystery game-used baseballs and mystery autographed baseballs, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation.
Mystery game-used baseballs are $20, while mystery autographed baseballs are $40. Fans can also visit RaysBaseball.com/Auctions from March 26-28 to purchase team-issued shirts, caps, helmets and jerseys, also benefiting the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund. Items purchased online will be shipped.
The Rays are committed to keeping fans and staff safe during the Drive to Opening Day event. Face masks are required while vehicle windows are down and any time outside a vehicle.
“Fan Fest is a fan favorite at Tropicana Field,” said Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services Eric Weisberg. “The event is evolving to make sure that fans can still celebrate the excitement of the upcoming season—and the success of 2020—in an engaging and safe way.”
At the conclusion of the drive-thru event, fans may park and exit their vehicles in a designated section of the parking lot to speak to Rays Ticket Sales Representatives or shop in the Rays Republic Team Store.
The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization and the official charity of the Rays and Rowdies, is dedicated to improving the lives of those in need within our community, focusing primarily on education, youth development, wellness and social responsibility. For more information about the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund, visit RaysBaseball.com/Community.