MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All this week, thousands of athletes from around the country are taking the plate in the Twin Cities for the largest gay softball event in the country.

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Opening ceremonies for the Gay Softball World Series were held Monday night on Nicollet Island.

More than 4,000 players from 44 teams are competing at games in Eagan and Inver Grove Heights this week.

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The series has been around for 36 years, alternating from city to city.

“It’s important not just because of the softball, but it also shows the community. It’s a part of the GLBT community and it’s fun, it’s athletics,” said Executive Commissioner John Thomas.

They expect the event to bring $5 to $6 million to the Twin Cities.

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Games continue all week until closing ceremonies on Saturday. For more information on the Gay Softball World Series, click here.