Thousands participate in Rays Fan Fest

Thousands of people took to Tropicana Field Saturday for Rays Fan Fest. The free event featured appearances by the players as well as autograph sessions and plenty of games for the whole family to get fans excited for the new season.

"It was absolutely wonderful. What I love about baseball, it's very family friendly so even though I don't have little kids anymore, I just love being among people," fan Darlene Demarie said.

The free event previews what will be the team's 25th anniversary season. It featured autograph sessions with more than 75 current and former major league baseball players and coaches as well as plenty of entertainment options for the whole family.

READ: Tampa Bay Rays prepare for start of the upcoming season after MLB lockout ends

"Baseball is back. It's incredibly fun. It's a fantastic family activity. We're here playing spring training at Tropicana Field this year, which is a little different for us and then the regular season starts, of course, at the end of March, and it's going to be a fantastic year, our 25th anniversary season this year, and so we're excited to kick it off," Tampa Bay Rays Chief Business Officer Bill Walsh said.

The event featured plenty of activities for kids including face painting, a chance to run the bases and plenty of throwing games with prizes. Fans like Darlene Demarie have been a season ticket holder since 2008 and look forward to this event every year.

"I can't wait for this season. Our pitching is going to be wonderful. We have a pitcher from USF where I work, so of course I'm excited about that. I'm hoping they can slug it out of the park so that our pitchers, you know, they'll keep the runs down, but we need people to boost the runs up," Demarie said.

New this year $10 tickets will be available for all 81 home games.

RELATED: Rays home opener: Fans return to the Trop for first time since 2019

"We hope that that consistent messaging and really affordable price point will bring more and more people out to Tropicana Field this year," Walsh said.

The season opener against the Detroit Tiger is set for Thursday, March 30th.