MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Baseball fans don’t have to wait for Tuesday’s All-Star game to celebrate the All-Star break.

The All-Star FanFest kicked off Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Thousands are expected to attend the five-day event that celebrates everything baseball.

There are certain elements of baseball you’d expect to see at FanFest. In the batting cages, kids swing towards dreams of winning the Home Run Derby.

“I just get my stance and concentrate on hitting the ball, not concentrating on other things,” said 5-year-old Nathanael Barclay.

Not far from the batting cages, a baseline allowed the future pros to practice their ability to steal a base. Some of the youngest baseball fans were already showing the self-confidence needed to become a star player.

Along with the interactive activities, FanFest features mementos and memorabilia. The history of the game is also on display with exhibits that showcase women in baseball, the Negro leagues and key moments in baseball’s past.

“If you want to think about maybe the most patriotic thing you can think of, it’s baseball,” said Timothy Johnson of Shakopee.

Certain elements of the game are larger-than-life. Fans lined up to take pictures next to the world’s largest baseball.

A 3-D scanner from 3D Plus Me means there’s no need to make the major leagues to have your face on a sports figure.

“It’s all about the relationship and bond you have with the team. Everyone wants that transformative experience and be immersed inside the team,” said Cydni Tetro of 3D Plus Me. “This is an opportunity to really represent you as those iconic players.”

The All-Star break may be a celebration of the best in baseball, but at FanFest it’s building a love of the game.

“Without a doubt, this is one of the highlights of the summer, absolutely,” Johnson said.

FanFest runs through Tuesday. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $30 for kids.

Click here for more information.http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2014/index.jsp?content=asg_fanfest


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