It's a 14-year tradition that just keeps getting better with age.
The 25 students in Marietta College's Sports Marketing class are ready to put on another first-class Community Baseball Day when the No.1-ranked Etta Express host Ohio Athletic Conference rival Heidelberg on Saturday at Don Schaly Stadium.
The students are also planning the fifth annual Community Softball Day for April 28. Gates will open at 11 a.m. and the first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at both events.
"Our class has worked very hard and has been planning a lot of fun activities for these days - face painting, ice cream, a bouncy house and other interactive games for the community to participate in," said student leader Justine Leger. "I am very excited to start up the grill and get the days going."
Fans should expect many of the same traditions of past events, including free hot dogs, Community Day T-shirts, Pepsi products, Sno-cones and more on a first-come, first-served basis. WMOA Radio will also be on hand to provide a pre-game remote.
The class is also planning a 50/50 raffle and will give out free prizes every half inning to a lucky fan.
The first Community Baseball Day was held in the spring of 1999 for about 500 fans. This year's class expects to entertain and serve close to 1,200 fans.
Then two weeks later they will do it all again for the softball team, who will face Baldwin-Wallace in the season finale at Marietta Field. The Pioneers will be celebrating Senior Day, and the college is encouraging the community to come out and say good-bye to retiring President Jean Scott.
Both of these dates are scheduled to be days of fun for the entire family as there will be no admission charged. If inclement weather forces the postponement of the game, the class will conduct all Community Day activities on the date the game is scheduled to be replayed.
Each Community Day is run almost solely by students of Marietta College, and all funds for the day's operations must be raised from the community. Sponsors for this year's event are Advantage Bank, Blue & Gray Resources, Artex Oil Co., BSN Sports, Crane Plumbing, Larry Fouss Construction, Frye Dental, Harmar Community Center, Marietta College Athletics, Marietta College Residence Life, Marietta College Student Senate, The Marietta Times, McCarthy Real Estate, McDonald's of Marietta, Old Town Bakery, Peoples Bank, Pepsi Co., Riverview Industrial Supply, Schultheis Insurance, Schwendeman Agency, Inc., Settlers Bank, Smitty's Pizza, Solvay Advanced Polymers, Triad Hunter and WMOA Radio.