Rain hampers NatsFest, threatens opening day

A steady afternoon rain and temperatures in the 40s put a damper on the first-ever springtime NatsFest on Wednesday at Nationals Park, as many of the planned outdoor activities were moved, postponed, or canceled altogether.

An open batting practice had been billed as the main afternoon attraction,
Washington Nationals mascot Screech the Eagle at NatsFestbut the field remained covered for most of the day, leaving Nationals mascot Screech to pray for the sun to come out, and fans to wait until evening for meet-and-greet opportunities.

Fans were still invited to enter a raffle for a chance to race against the GEICO racing presidents, but the announcement of the winners was postponed, as was the race itself.
Washington Nationals players greet fans at NatsFest
Unlike previous years, there were no opportunities for fans to request autographs, but the change made for shorter lines and a much faster-moving meet-and-greet opportunity with nearly every opening day starter, plus a few players brought up from Florida for the event, including pitcher Stephen Strasburg and future stars Bryce Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg greets fans at NatsFest
Harper and Derrick Norris.

The forecast calls for a 70% chance of rain for Thursday’s season opener at Nationals Park. A team spokesman said that they would consider moving the game to Friday afternoon, but will not make that call until Thursday morning.

$5 tickets for today’s NatsFest and a chance to race the presidents

If you’ve ever wanted to run against the racing presidents, tonight may be your chance. Fifteen children and five adults will have that opportunity tonight at at Nationals Park.

The third annual NatsFest begins late this afternoon to kick off the Nationals home season. Tickets are free for season ticket holders, $10.00 for other adults, and $5.00 for kids under twelve. As of this morning, 1/2-price $5.00 tickets are also available at Goldstar.com.

New to this year’s event is a free presidents race raffle, with registration beginning at 4:00pm at the racing presidents photo station. Fifteen children and five adults will be selected to race on the Nationals Park warning track against George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy, in a total of four heats that will take place between 7:00pm – 7:45pm.

Other attractions at this year’s NatsFest include and on-field meet and greet with players on the warning track, Q&A sessions with players, broadcasters, coaches, and MLB legends, live music, batting cages, a silent auction, kids zone, mini-museum, and much more.

Full schedule here.

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