The new Hensville area includes Nine restaurant on the main floor of this building on North St. Clair Street.
This year’s opening day at Fifth Third Field will be unlike any other.
Tiffany Wicks serves up a brew at the packed Fleetwood Tap Room during opening day festivities for the Toledo Mud Hens today.
Sure, it’s the start of Mud Hens season. But today also marks the grand opening of Hensville’s entertainment venues.
Hensville is the name of the new entertainment district along a stretch of North St. Clair Street from Washington to Monroe streets, adjacent to the ballpark. Two years in the making, it includes the expanded Swamp Shop, new retail shop Holy Toledo, rooftop bars, Nine restaurant, Fleetwood’s Tap Room, and Hensville Park.
“We’re extremely excited. The anticipation has been mounting the closer we get to opening day. Opening day is always the biggest party of the year in Toledo and this year’s edition is the biggest opening day party we’ve ever thrown,” said Michael Keedy, Mud Hens manager of special events.
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At the center of the Hensville celebration over the four-day weekend is, of course, the game. Gates open at 2:30 p.m. for the 4:05 p.m. contest against the Louisville Bats. Games are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Friday, 5:05 p.m. Saturday, and 2:05 p.m. Sunday against Louisville.
The festivities start at noon with Mud Hens president and CEO Joe Napoli kicking off the day at the official Block Party at Hensville Park. The block party, which goes until midnight, features 14 local and regional bands that will play at various locations throughout Hensville and the ballpark. A game ticket provides access to the block party. The new Fleetwood’s Tap Room is part of the street bash.
Fleetwood’s manager Brian Plummer said it will offer 75 beers, 48 on tap, and 50 whiskeys, rye whiskeys, and spirits. After 7 p.m. the bar opens to all to enjoy the food, drinks, and bands.
The beer will also flow at Home Run Terrace where the Beer Bash takes place from 3-5 p.m. Access is $45 and includes 12 samples of craft beer, block party access, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and music. Tickets are $35 and are available for designated drivers.
With Hensville comes new views of the ballpark.
“People have always said how cool would it be to watch the baseball games from the rooftop and now they can. It’s something that has never happened in Toledo. The experience will open it up to a lot more people,” said Andi Roman, the Mud Hens communications director.
The Top of Nine party deck will provide fans a great view of Fifth Third Field.
The Rooftop on Nine and Top of Nine offer great views of the field. A ticket for today’s Top of Nine Rooftop Party costs $115.
The terraces, beside each other, are located on the roof of the building that houses the new restaurant Nine, located at 9 North St. Clair. The restaurant is open to all throughout the year.
You can also socialize with friends while watching the game at the High Five Opening Day Rooftop Party, also $115 per person. Situated on top of the Fleetwood Building at 28 N. St. Clair, it provides a panorama of the field and downtown Toledo. Packages for both rooftop parties are limited and include a buffet, beer and wine, commemorative rooftop ticket, and admission to the block party.
The fanfare continues Friday and Saturday with a host of musical acts performing at Hensville Park.
The concert series at Hensville Park welcomes to its stage the Way Down Wanderers. The modern folk band performs following the Friday game. Entry is $12 or free with a Mud Hens or Walleye ticket.
Saturday’s Country Concert is headlined by the rising country band, the Stickers, who take the stage at 8:30 p.m. The first act, Haywire, performs at 3 p.m., followed by Sweet Tea Band and Brent Lowry Band. Entry is $15, and $22 for both the Mud Hens game and concert.
Sunday is dedicated to the pint-sized fans. Kids Opening Day will have a slew of activities for the young sluggers, such as a 135-foot zipline overlooking Fifth Third Field, inflatables, face painting, a junior home run derby, and more.
Nine restaurant on North St. Clair Street has locally-made furnishings and art and its menu features ingredients sourced from area farmers. Top of Nine and Rooftop on Nine are located above.
The interactive music group the Wanna Bees will perform for the children from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Hensville Park.
Entry is $3 with a Mud Hens ticket, or combination tickets to the festivities and baseball game are $15 for adults and $13 for children 12 and under.
The excitement at Hensville continues throughout the season. Weekly events will be planned, drawing in more traffic downtown, such as Movie Night Mondays on select nights after the game, and concerts on Friday in the park.
For a complete schedule of opening day weekend celebrations, and to purchase tickets for events, go to hensvilletoledo.com or call 419-725-HENS.
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