Traveling baseball festival coming to Elizabethton   

By Julie Fann
star staff

ÊÊ  A traveling baseball festival based in New York and organized by Entertainment and Sports International is coming to Elizabethton this year. The Principal Financial Group Family Fun Fest will visit Joe O'Brien field on Saturday, June 25 beginning at 4 p.m.
  "We don't want children in our area to miss this opportunity to come and take part in some of the activities that will be going on this particular night," said Mike Mains, Elizabethton parks and recreation director, Wednesday.
  The Principal Family Fun Fest is the "most extensive traveling fan festival in baseball history", according to a released statement from ESI. The festival will feature over 20 attractions, including batting cages, a radar gun pitching challenge, a baseball museum, a bungee run, a giant "side-by-side" super slide, and an X-Box Home Run Derby video game trailer.
  The event will cover as much as 4,000 square feet and is free and open to the public. "We will have 20 volunteers in our area working different booths, and they have their own staff that they send also," Mains said.
  The festival will extend from 4 to 7 p.m. in time for the Elizabethton Twins baseball game. Afterward, a giant, inflatable movie screen is set up for those who attend to watch the movie, "Shrek".
  ESI spent over $1 million creating the event, which will appear at 52 ballparks across the country in the 2004 season, including an appearance at the Triple A All-Star Game Fan Fest in Providence, Rhode Island in July and the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Charleston, South Carolina.
  "We wanted to build an exciting, impressive and professional project like the NFL Experience, or the NBA Jam Session, but tailored to minor league baseball teams and markets," said ESI's Bert Gould.