2016 Royals FanFest Expected To Be Biggest Ever Following World Series Championship
It's been a pretty magical year for the Royals, hasn't it?
Months after hundreds of thousands of Royals fans descended upon downtown Kansas City in November for the team's World Series parade, thousands more are expected to fill Bartle Hall for the 2016 Royals FanFest this weekend.
The annual celebration gives fans a chance to score current and former players' autographs, merchandise and even a picture with the team's coveted World Series trophy.
Royals Vice President of Publicity Toby Cook says this year is undoubtedly going to be the biggest FanFest in its eight year history.
"Our record attendance was 25,000 [last year], and we used to get 12,000 and 13,000 people," Cook said. "I keep telling people we'll get more than 30,000 people this weekend."
To deal with the large crowds, Cook says the Royals decided to stagger admittance through timed entry. Once inside, fans can stay for as long as they want.
Susan Myers came to FanFest with her family Friday afternoon. She has followed the Royals through both good and bad times over the last 40 years.
"I grew up going to Kauffman Stadium, and now that I've got six kids, I take them to get the same experience," Myers said. "In the mid 1990s, we started collecting Royals autographs, and it's a big deal now that they've won another series in my kids' lifetimes."
Danielle Smith also brought her children to soak in the excitement and try their hands at one of the batting cages. She says the team's 2015 World Series win has given her kids the same experience she had back in 1985.
"I have pictures of Frank White and Willie Wilson, and now they're going to have pictures of their leaders," Smith said. "It's a great time to see Kansas City get excited again like it was in the 1980s."
You can expect to see Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, and many, many other Royals players this weekend. Check out the full list of scheduled autograph signings here.
Cody Newill is a reporter for KCUR. You can find him on Twitter @CodyNewill or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.