A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge youth baseball complex.
Ripken Baseball and the City of Pigeon Forge officially opened The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge on March 9, 2016 with a ribbon cutting and open house for the public. The $22.5 million facility will host youth baseball and fast-pitch softball tournaments, beginning with the inaugural Cabin Fever Tournament on March 12.
The ceremony included guest speakers Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball Hall of Famer and chairman and founder of Ripken Baseball; Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear and City Manager Earlene Teaster; Commission John Schroer of the Tennessee Department of Transportation; and David Bounds, general manager of The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge.
The facility features six lighted, synthetic turf fields, each based on the design of a well-known professional ballpark, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Isotopes Stadium and Engel Stadium.
A two-level clubhouse offers a concession area and gift shop, as well as indoor seating and balcony area overlooking the fields.
“I believe this is the prettiest youth baseball complex in the country,” said Cal Ripken, Jr. “The proof, however, will be the expression on the faces of the players when they hit the field.”
The City of Pigeon Forge signed a 10-year contract with Ripken Baseball to market and manage the complex. The Pigeon Forge location is Ripken Baseball’s third Ripken Experience complex, with the first being in Ripken’s hometown of Aberdeen, Md. and the second in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge was many years in the making. Now that it’s open, it will attract thousands of kids and their families to Pigeon Forge, and it will spur ancillary business development. The combination of baseball tournaments and the family-oriented atmosphere of Pigeon Forge is a home run,” said Mayor David Wear.
The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge recently announced a lodging and entertainment partnership with Dollywood Company.