Baseball has been the proud sponsor of lasting family memories for generations.
Since the beginning of the sport’s reign as America’s sport, families have viewed trips to the ballpark as an escape from the daily grind and a chance to spend time together.
The Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce has linked the organization to that tradition with the annual trips to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for Waxahachie Night at the Texas Rangers. For a flat rate of $50 per person, community members can enjoy the ballpark, the game, the food and the memories that come with attending a baseball game under the lights on a warm summer night.
This year, Waxahachie Night falls on Wednesday, Aug. 8, with the Rangers playing the Oakland A’s.
“We’ve done this for about 10 years. It’s fun to see the grandparents bring their children each year,” Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Debra Wakeland said. “Anytime we can get our members together is an opportunity to network. The Rangers have had good years and not so good years, and our bus always fills up. So that says that the baseball doesn’t really matter.”
Wakeland said that the members of the chamber and chamber staff have basically watched families grow since the first event. Grandchildren who attended the first Waxahachie Night as young children have now grown and graduated from high school or college.
Traveling with the chamber offers baseball fans quite a few perks — close parking, which means less walking to and from the ballpark, Terrace Club seats and all-you-can-eat hotdogs and hamburgers as well as refreshments from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Corner Club.
“It’s just a fun, family event. We take all the worries from going to the ballgame,” said Laurie McPike-Mosley, Convention and Visitors Bureau director. “Trying to get there, trying to park, what to eat — we package it all together and we handle it for the group.”
All those traveling to the game will meet at 4:45 p.m. at the chamber office and board a chartered bus, sponsored by local attorney Kevin Chester, destined for the Ballpark.
“We provide a fun experience for the group. We play a variety of games on the way to the Ballpark and everyone will have an opportunity to win prizes. It’s a really good time,” McPike-Mosley said. “It’s really popular with some of our older adults. A lot of them don’t want to drive to Arlington and find a place to park. But they do want to enjoy the experience with their grandkids.”
Over the years, the chamber has welcomed many regulars to the event, as well as new families.
“When the Rangers are winning, it’s an easy sell. Many years I recall having two chartered buses, so we had over 100 people,” Wakeland said. “It’s for everyone. Anyone in the community who wants to go most certainly can.”
This year, the chamber has reserved 50 seats and has 12 left.
“It’s really good exposure for Waxahachie — it’s a unique event to be able to meet people in the community,” McPike-Mosley said. “This year we are sitting in really good seats. Those seats alone are around $30 regular retail price. When you consider that you’re getting that kind of seat, along with all-you-can-eat hotdogs and beverages, it’s a really big value. A lot of baseball for your buck.”
“We’ve even given out Ranger promotional caps and there was a sea of red caps,” Wakeland said. “It’s such great publicity and promotion for everyone to see us and think, ‘That’s a cool city.’ ”
“We encourage people to call the chamber and make their reservations quickly,” McPike-Mosley said. “You just need to show up, jump on the bus and you don’t have to worry about driving. We take away all the headaches because we’re handling it all.”
The bus will leave from the chamber office, 102 YMCA Drive, at 5 p.m. the day of the game, Wednesday, Aug. 8. For more information or to make a reservation, call the chamber at (972) 937-2390.