FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Although the smoke continues to stall youth sports, children in Fairbanks still got a chance to play, but not with their traditional teammates.
In efforts to share a piece of the city's baseball roots, The Fairbanks Children's Museum hosted Baseball Day at their facility Thursday.
"We thought it would be fun to bring a baseball team in. We know kids love baseball, they get to go to the game, and they get to meet them here in person and play," Education and Outreach Manager at the Fairbanks Children's Museum Jessica Farr said. "They get to be encouraged to stay active and also inspire to play sports, maybe become a baseball player themselves. They can look up to people that do really cool things in our community."
The Goldpanners roster is compiled of new players who have never experienced Fairbanks or Alaska in general. Although they are new faces, they are still embraced the same everywhere they go.
"I am really excited to be out here today and see the great attendance that we have had for this," Goldpanners Manager Miles Kizer said. "But more so, the town really gets excited about seeing games, seeing players out in town. I mean I love being up here and I love the atmosphere at the games and seeing people around town."
The players were engaged with the kids, creating crafts, conducting experiments and of course, playing catch.
For the players, it is an opportunity to connect to the youth of the community, while also getting the feeling of stardom.
"It is kind of a fun thing for them, because it is kind of a pro thing, where everyone is excited to see them, they get to put their face out in front of people," Kizer said "They almost seem untouchable to these little kids and seeing the excitement on the little kids' faces and when they come up and are asking for autographs and they are over there playing catch and playing some different games with them, it has been a lot of fun. I think for them it is a great experience because it is kind of an other worldly experience for our guys, and they are having a blast hanging out with the little guys."
Children were sent home with free Panner tickets, autographs, and lifelong memories.