York Revolution executives are getting ready to host their biggest crowd of the year - and it's not for a baseball game.
The city's annual Fourth of July celebration will again be held at Santander Stadium and will include a bigger lineup of entertainment and children's activities.
"We're thrilled to do it. This is what we envisioned when the ballpark was being built. It's more than just baseball," said Eric Menzer, president and general manager of the York Revolution.
Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 4 and guests will find a carnival on the Brooks Robinson Plaza, including inflatables, water play, facepainting, balloon animals, an imagination playground, hot food, cold drinks and ice cream.
if you want concessions, you'll have to pay for them. But otherwise, the event is free.
Attractions: Inside the stadium, the warning track will be set up for popular lawn games, and all the concession stands will be open.
The Revolution's DownTown Playground will also be open during the event.
"The Lego Movie" will be shown on the stadium's videoboard at 4 p.m.
Katie Armiger will perform a country concert at 6 p.m., and the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band will perform at 8 p.m.
The evening will culminate in 25 minutes of fireworks, starting at 9:30 p.m.
"There will be plenty of activities for folks, and we're getting pretty excited," said Adam Nugent, special event coordinator for the baseball team.
Second year: It's the second year the Revolution will host the event, which drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people last year.
Before the Revolution hosted last year, the holiday party was held at the York Expo Center for 34 years.
"Last year, the event was on death's door because of funding issues. We partnered with the Cutural Alliance to continue it. We have the perfect facility for it, and it's a real kick to see this happen," Menzer said.
But he said the event wouldn't be possible without support from Revolution staff and several local sponsors: Downtown Inc, General Dynamics, Glatfelter Insurance, Great Country 107.7 WGTY, M&T Bank and The Bon Ton.
Record crowd expected: Nugent, who coordinates the July 4th celebration, said it takes most of the staff to run things the day of the event.
"We need to prepare for a ton of people. We had over 10,000 last year. We're prepared to have that much or more this year," he said.
The staff is planning for the biggest crowd in the history of the facility, said Paul Braverman, promotions and communications manager for the York Revolution.
Until last year's July 4th party, the biggest crowd the stadium had was about 8,000 for a 2011 all-star game.
On the Fourth of July, guests fill the stadium seats, suite-level seating and sit on blankets in the outfield, Braverman said.
City and suburban residents make up the bulk of the crowd, executives said.
"It's all about engaging with the York County community. That's our bread and butter. Our business is in the city, but we're not a city business. We're a community business. And if we can host something that brings in over 10,000 people downtown, that's a huge win," Menzer said.
The York Revolution also hosts the city's Halloween parade.
"Our overall goal with these special events is to make them a source of pride for York. There's so much potential and so much we can do for Downtown York," Nugent said.
Taking on the July 4 event means the Revolution probably won't host a game on the holiday anytime soon, but team leaders said it doesn't take away from the fun of being at the ballpark.
"You've got the Fourth of July, free fireworks, cold beer and clean bathrooms. What more could you want?" Menzer said.
- Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.