2014-07-03 / Arts & Entertainment News

Mega Bash promises mega fun for Fourth at Roger Dean Stadium

BY SCOTT SIMMONS

Folks needing a taste of classic Americana need look no further than Roger Dean Stadium on Independence Day weekend.

The stadium will offer a mix of baseball, hotdogs and fireworks, all in that order, along with music and other activities for the family during its Mega Bash, set for July 3-4.

“Basically, it’s a ballgame followed by a really nice fireworks show,” said Mike Bauer, the stadium’s general manager. “We have a Jimmy Buffett tribute on the third, then a Journey tribute on the Fourth.”

But the Great American Pastime is at the core of both evenings.

On July 3, the minor league Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals face off at 6:05 p.m. After the game, there will be a fireworks show and a performance by the Caribbean Chillers, who will play the songs of Jimmy Buffett.

On the Fourth, look for the Cardinals to take on the Bradenton Marauders at 6:05 p.m. Fireworks start at around 9 p.m., followed by Journey tribute band Odyssey Road.

“It’s a great night. Our fireworks shows will be about 8 or 9 minutes long on the third and 15-16 minutes on the Fourth,” Mr. Bauer said.

That extended performance is courtesy of Roger Dean’s partnership with the town of Jupiter, which treats the event as its municipal fireworks display.

Each night, the stadium will have a Mega Kids Area.

“We rent bounce houses and the obstacle courses and the big slides and we have a lot of fun with that,” Mr. Bauer said. Admission to the Mega Kids Area is $8 per child.

Mr. Bauer said the space will be popular with his sons.

“They love those really large slides,” he said. “My boys, they’re 6 and 4, so they’re right in our homerun zone. They’ll go down that slide a hundred times.”

This is the sixth year for the Mega Bash, Mr. Bauer said.

“Something new is a Hats Off Our Heads promotion with the players with a silent auction,” Mr. Bauer said.

Each night, players from the home teams will wear special red, white and blue hats that will be auctioned off.

Winning bidders can go out on the field and meet players, who will autograph their hats and pose for pictures.

Look for minor league merchandise to be on sale this year with deep reductions.

“It’s the biggest day of the year our fans can get their merchandise more affordably,” Mr. Bauer said.

Roger Dean Stadium is not going it alone this year for the Fourth.

Abacoa Town Center will have its block party at the same time as the July 4 Mega Bash.

“They’ll have 3,000 to 4,000 people across the street,” Mr. Bauer said. Then you have the casual resident who will park along Central Boulevard and watch the fireworks from their car.”

It adds up.

“We estimate there will be 13,000 people who will come to Abacoa,” he said.

The usual game draws about 800 people.

Last year we did about 4,000 paid tickets on the third, then on the Fourth, we were a complete sell-out,” Mr. Bauer said, adding that number may grow this year because the Fourth marks the start of a long weekend.

“That’s the largest number outside of ArtiGras,” he said. The art festival draws about 85,000 people over a three-day weekend in February.

And getting back to Mega Bash?

“We try to make it a little bigger and a little better every year,” he said.

And maybe, just maybe, it will bring families a little closer together.

“In no other sport does the game lend itself to connecting and talking as a family,” Mr. Bauer said. ¦

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