September 3, 2023

PEZ Visitor’s Center

I live about 10 minutes from the PEZ Factor & Visitor’s Center but have yet to visit it in my 10+ years of living here.  After a local radio station gave me free admission for my birthday this year, we decided to check it out on Friday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children 3-12.  With your admission you get a PEZ lanyard that holds your ticket (super cute!) and $2 to the store for any merchandise purchase on the day of your visit. (A pack of a fun PEZ flavor is $1.99)  Each month they also do an activity that if completed wins you a free PEZ dispenser and there are also trivia computers where you’ll get a certificate once you complete it.

The tour is self guided though there are some stickers on the floor to guide you and the brochure give to you when you enter also has a suggestion for how to do your tour.  There are windows opened to the PEZ packaging and production area so if you go during the week you’ll get to see stuff going on, but they are not working on the weekends.  Honestly, that area of the tour was not quite as exciting as I was expecting so if you’re only available to go during the weekend I wouldn’t worry too much about missing out.  There are some other displays upstairs and there are stairs or an elevator (I’m sorry, Ela-Vader) to access that area.  There also is a spot where you can do a photo op to put your head on the PEZ dispenser. (We didn’t end up doing this)

Our activity to win a PEZ dispenser was a scavenger hunt, you had to find hidden in all the displays each of the 7 dwarfs.  Once you found them, it told you what letter to put on the card and when you exited you handed it in to get you dispenser.  We got I believe a fox?  They show at the ticket booth what the prize is when you’re buying your tickets.  We actually struggled to find the last 2 dwarfs, even though we had already figured out what the phrase they would spell out was.

Overall it took us about an hour to check out all the displays, solve the scavenger hunt and shop.   They also have a bucket of pez available for I think $7 though the flavors they had didn’t really appeal to me so I didn’t get it, even though I wanted to.  The price of admission is pretty low considering all that you end up getting out of it.  I’d definitely recommend visiting and I wouldn’t mind going again.

Savannah Bananas @ Dunkin Park

Last year my brother was telling me about this fun baseball team in Savannah, GA called the Savannah Bananas. He wanted to go and see them but was having trouble being able to get tickets to see them so I was recruited to try and help. We had no luck getting tickets to any of their games in GA but then they announced in 2023 they’d be going on a tour and they’d be making a stop in Hartford.  I signed up for tickets immediately and they were going to do some sort of lottery from their wait list.  But in December, my work sent out an email to “Go Bananas” and get tickets to the game so of course I wasted no time signing up and grabbing tickets! In June, I was told that I wasn’t even going to have a shot at the tickets going on sale to the public and honestly I am not even sure any tickets did go on sale to the public.  Everyone keeps asking how I got the tickets and I don’t have any real trick to it, just got lucky my work did a group thing.

Finally the day of the game came!  The email mentioned when gates would open and when people typically started lining up.  We got there at 4:30 and were told the seats would open at 5:30 and there was a line that had started at *9am* which was absolutely not what the email had said!  Fortunately they were very accommodating for those with mobility issues and told us to wait in a different area and we’d get to snag seats at the top of the concourse a little before the general public was going to be released.  I thought for sure we’d witness a stampede once everyone was let in, but the team went to the line and celebrated the opening of the seats and everyone made their way in pretty orderly.

Banana Ball is a bit different than your regular baseball game… before the game started they “Simba’d” a 10 day old baby, had a young girl eat a banana and say whether or not it was good or rotten, and instead of first pitch a grown man had to crawl around blindfolded to find a golden banana and throw that to the catcher.  Music is playing constantly, little clips in between at bat songs and there are no such thing as walks.  Because it is not your typical baseball game, they can’t exactly play against any other team, so a 2nd team, The Party Animals, are their opponent.  Now the Party Animals live up to their name and they were dancing outside the dug out for most of the game.  It essentially was if boybands played baseball and I loved it.  I’m not sure if I can go to a regular baseball game again and I hope that when they tour next year my work does something again so I can snag tickets!

In Banana Ball, whoever scores the most runs each inning gets a point for that inning, unless it is the 9th (or last) inning in which all runs count as a point.  The game has a timer going from the start that it won’t go over 2 hours, and it doesn’t even stop for the in between inning games.  At the end of the Hartford game, the Bananas came back to tie things so they had to go into a tie breaker.  The Bananas ended up walking it off and winning 5-4 scoring 7 runs to the Party Animals 6.  Because the games are timed, a stat that you’ll see for the pitchers is minutes per inning and the bottom of the inning ends as soon as the home team scores enough runs to give them the point.

After the game they announced that we could go down to the field and meet the players, but expecting it would be total chaos, we opted to try and get out of the parking lot quicker instead.  I’m not sure this review does the game justice since I wrote it so long after we had attended, but if you have the opportunity to see the Savannah Bananas and are a baseball fan I think you should take it.  It’s fast paced and a ton of fun!

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