CUMBERLAND — Thousands of fans flocked to The Battery Atlanta and Truist Park on Saturday to attend the return of Braves Fest.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the festival featured a wide variety of family-friendly events including on-field activities, interactive experiences, baseball clinics and live entertainment.
The free event allowed fans to interact with Braves players and coaches while also sharing their excitement for the upcoming season.
Infielder Vaughn Grissom, All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and strikeout pitcher Spencer Strider were among the many Braves players who attended the festival.
Grissom said Saturday’s Braves Fest was his first, adding that he enjoyed spending quality time with his fans.
“It’s been a blast,” said the 22-year-old Grissom, who is in line to succeed Cobb County native Dansby Swanson as the Braves’ starting shortstop. “This has been a really cool opportunity for us.”
One of the events, “Bowl with the Braves,” allowed fans to bowl a frame and nail a strike alongside players at Punch Bowl Social.
Festival-goers also had the opportunity to sit at the Bally Sports South broadcast desk and snap a picture.
Lee Arnold, a Braves fan from Chattanooga, Tennessee, attended the festival, with his father and son tagging along for the fun. The three generations sat at the broadcast desk and met former Braves player and current Bally Sports broadcaster Paul Byrd.
“We came here for a true Braves experience and today didn’t disappoint,” Arnold said. “This is a generational thing for us. My dad and I are former baseball players and my son is a player now. Meeting Mr. Byrd and touching home plate was pretty cool.”
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos delivered a State of the Team address and shared his outlook on the upcoming season.
“I was curious what this was going to be like ... this is as packed as I’ve ever seen it,” Anthopoulos said. “This is pretty exciting.”
Volunteer Yolanda Gordon said the event was “an awesome first experience.”
“Everyone’s out here having a great time,” Gordon said. “This festival really has a great atmosphere.”