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Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge Ready for First Tournament This Weekend

Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge Ready for First Tournament this Weekend

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.

Cal Ripken, Jr. addresses a crowd at the opening of The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge.

Cal Ripken, Jr. addresses a crowd of hundreds of people who came out for the ribbon cutting ceremony at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge on March 9, 2016.

Cal Ripken, Jr. and Pigeon Forge officials cut the ribbon.

Cal Ripken, Jr. and Pigeon Forge officials cut the ribbon.

Fields at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

A sign directs players and spectators to each of six fields at the facility.

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 Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge clubhouse.

The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge clubhouse, with the new baseball-themed water tower in the background.

Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge Playground

The clubhouse balcony overlooks the playground and fields.

Pigeon Forge High School Baseball Team at Ripken

Players from the Pigeon Forge High School baseball team assisted in the ribbon cutting and practiced on the complex’s Camden Yards 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.

Redstitch108 at Ripken Experience

Cal Ripken, Jr. was on hand to offer coaching to kids from Redstitch108 as they tried out Isotopes field.

Redstitch108 at Ripken Experience

Cal Ripken, Jr. takes a knee with Redstitch108 players.

About Candice Fitzgibbons

I am a Sevier County resident and active in my local community. I've spent more than 20 years as a graphic designer and copywriter, creating marketing materials to help small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations achieve their goals. I have a passion for equality, the environment and animal rights.