By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — They were supposed to have TwinsFest at the Metrodome, but because of the roof collapse the Twins had to downsize a bit and move everything to the National Sports Center in Blaine.

Big crowds came to annual fan festival which started at 4 p.m. Friday.

Because it is a smaller venue, they are expecting about 10,000 fewer fans. The Twins capped ticket sales at 25,000 for the three-day event for the first time in its 23-year history and sold out more than three weeks ago.

Fans stood in line outside the Schwan’s Pavillion and the big Sports Hall hoping to be the first to get autographs from players like Joe Mauer, Jim Thome and newly inducted Hall of Fame member Bert Blylevyn.

It wasn’t exactly baseball weather outside, so fans huddled together to stay warm. A number of folks set up their portable ice fishing shelters to get in from the cold.

“Last year was our first year (using a shelter). The year before that we froze our butts off. Last year we brought this and this is the way to go,” said Travis High, a Twins fan.

More than 60 current, former and future Twins players are scheduled to appear at autograph stations, radio interviews and other interactions with fans.

“I like the environment. I like to be able to interact with the players and get to get the autographs from the guys,” said Jackie Rostamo, a Twins fan.  ” Go down and see the vendors, pick up a few pictures, some baseball cards and all that.”

If you’re heading to TwinsFest, there are two buildings again where events are being held. There are also shuttle busses bringing in fans from the outlying parking lots like city of Blaine and the Park-and-Ride on Interstate 35W.

TwinsFest is a fundraiser for the team’s community fund and also includes various memorabilia showcases and interactive events.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (3)
  1. The Crux of the Biscuit says:

    I live about two miles from the site. I thought I would go but there are no tickets for people that walk up? What the heck?

  2. roy says:

    Also, if you had to wait FOREVER outside, and then if you wanted more than one autograph you had to go back outside and wait in line AGAIN!! I thought it was poorly managed and we went home without getting inside at all (after waiting for almost 2 hours)…..we want our money back!

  3. ARCC says:

    There was no way to get into the smaller autograph venue without having to wait in a long line that didn’t move. I felt sorry for kids and their parents who wanted to go just go to the Kids Q & A or the Highlights area in the Schwan Center. They still have to wait in the long autograph line to get in. We tried to get into the Schwan Center but ended up back next door at the Sports Hall after waiting a half-hour in a non-moving line.

    The setup in the Sports Hall was much better organized although a bit tight with the large crowd in the smaller venue. The vendor area was missing some of the regular participants and packed together tightly. The autograph areas were organized better in this area and we enjoyed the interviews at the live 1500 ESPN broadcast stage.

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