Silver Hawks Opening Day celebrated in a big way - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Silver Hawks Opening Day celebrated in a big way

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Baseball is back and the weather was perfect for Opening Night at the Cove Thursday.  If the long lines for tickets were any indication the team's effort to transform the fan experience is working.

At the ballpark Thursday night there was face painting, inflatable games, a tiki hut, and a petting zoo.  President Joe Hart said, "when people leave we want them to have a smile on their face and really talk to everybody they know and go man you won't believe what I saw at the ballpark last night."

When you've got animals just steps away from the baseball diamond that's sure to happen. "They're very fun to ride and I like to pet the llama," said Macey Ginzer.

The petting zoo was only for opening night but the tiki hut is a permanent improvement at the Cove.  It is one of a couple improvements to the ballpark this year.  It follows last years major improvements that transformed the cove.  All of it is in an effort to get you to the games, even if you don't like baseball.  "We want to be a community gathering point whether it's baseball wither it's the tiki hut, picnic garden all we want to do is be a community gathering point for the region," said Hart.

Last year the SilverHawks attendance was way up from previous years.  They set the bar high, so will they see a repeat of that success again this season?  Ticket sales show they're well on their way.  "Our season ticket sales for this year were up 125 percent over last year," said Hart.  Because the cove has turned into a place for people of all ages and all interests.  "It's a great place for anyone to come," said Oliver Holloway.

More improvements for The Cove are planned for next year too.  Hart said next year they plan to build a three story party tower in right field.

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