Kevin at the Park: Experience at Bark at the Park

by Danielle Weaver, Human Resources Coordinator

By day, I’m the human resources coordinator at Erie Events, but after 5 p.m., I take on a completely different job: I’m a proud dog mom of two English Bulldogs named Kevin and Phoebe.

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Meet Kevin! He’s my English Bulldog and he loved Bark at the Park.

It’s no secret that those who live in Erie can’t wait to fast forward to summer. When the weather gets warm, one of my favorite things to do is attend Bark at the Park at UPMC Park. Bark at the Park is a night when fans can bring their well-behaved dogs to a baseball game! UPMC Park features six luxury suites, two picnic areas, three primary concession stands and a Bud Light Beer Garden, so there’s something for everyone – and now dogs, too! It’s a treat that the SeaWolves offered this special promotion for a night out with the fur babies.

Recently, my husband and I took Kevin to Bark at the Park. I even named his special night “Kevin at the Park”! Kevin loved his night! Kevin hung out at the Bud Light Beer Garden, but he had to take the elevator up because he’s not athletic enough to go up multiple flights of stairs.

Kevin really only accepts other bulldogs in his friend circle, and he made friends with a bulldog named Goose at Bark in the Park. A small feisty wiener dog went at Goose and Kevin legitimately had Goose’s back – I swear I’m not making this up! It was a good time for Kevin and we enjoyed it, too.

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Posing with Kevin. We’ll be back!

Bark at the Park brings all different kinds of people – and dogs – together for a night out. Having your dog at the park is a great ice breaker to meet other people. Dog owners might not have something in common, but your dogs might, and that drives a conversation.

If I could offer any advice for first timers taking their dog to the park, I would tell them to consider the heat and pack cold water. There is water served community bowl style, but bringing water will help. Doggy bags are key if there’s an accident, and if you have a bulldog (perhaps named Kevin), you will probably be carrying him back to the car by the end of the night!

 

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A Day In the Life of Our Groundskeeper

IMG_0033by Brandon Schanz, Head Groundskeeper

A picture of an employee gathering for employees who had been with Erie Events for 10 years hangs from a wall in my office. My 20-year plaque from the Erie SeaWolves is to its right on the other side of the wall. My walls say it all: I’ve been here ever since UPMC Park, then Jerry Uht Park, was built.

 

One clarification before we begin: saying “the walls in my office” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really more of a shed behind centerfield, and I also have quarters in Erie Insurance Arena. If I had to actually pick an “office” for myself, it would probably be the field itself.

I wasn’t always in grounds keeping. I came out of high school in the summer of 1995 working in the kitchen area. By the end of the first season, I became assistant director of concessions at the age of 18. I worked there until 1998. I knew the groundkeeper at the time and he convinced me to join his staff in 1999. After my second year in that department, I became his main assistant and worked at the Warner Theatre in the winter. From there, I took over as head groundskeeper in 2004.

There’s hard days, certainly, but I wouldn’t have been here so long if I didn’t like it. The people I’ve met, the players I work with – it’s not too shabby. If you’re curious, Curtis Granderson was one of the nicest players and Matt Walbeck (who managed in 2007) was one of my favorite managers. One of my all-time favorite players was Josh Rainwater, a pitcher who played from 2008-2010.

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Always working with the team to ensure we’ve got it all right.

Before the team plays, my team is in charge of getting the field ready for them. We have a total staff of 17. There’s me, my assistant (full-time seasonal) and other part-time staff. Most have been around for over two years – their longevity in the job really helps us get a lot done efficiently.

Walking you through a typical day is difficult, but here’s this for starters: our day often starts at 8 a.m. and doesn’t end until an hour after the conclusion of the game. Yeah. We put in some long hours.

Cutting the grass once usually takes an hour of time. If we’re doing a new pattern, it can take up to five hours. It’s always fun thinking up new designs and doing things that haven’t been done. I don’t usually have a design in mind, though – I usually just get on the mower and see how I’m feeling.

My assistant usually works on the mounds and after that, the infields are taken care of and the dugouts are cleaned. We try to edge once every other homestand and we’ll sometimes do resodding if there’s a bad spot on the field. The field is fertilized every two weeks and once a month we aerate the field.

It’s all time consuming.

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The staff does work throughout the day to get the Park ready.

Time is of the essence here, as we have to get things done before batting practice. Our ability to get things done is especially hard when there are also events that aren’t SeaWolves games. We have over 30 extra events this year, including several high school baseball games. They put wear on the grass and field, but most importantly, they cut into our time to get work done. We love kids’ camps and block parties and concerts, but they do bring about extra challenges for our job.

During the game, we’re working, too. We’re doing touch-ups throughout the game, and on bad weather days, we’re keeping the umpires up to date. I also keep in touch with Tom Atkins at WJET about what he’s seeing on radar. It’s usually my decision on whether to put the tarp out – you want the tarp to be placed just before bad weather comes, not as it’s already happening.

Rain days are the hardest, as removing water fast is difficult. But I’ve been here so long that all the issues we have start to repeat themselves and I know how to handle them. After all, I have been here since the park’s inception; I’ll be sure to have the Park ready to go day in and day out.

Ignore the Weather: Things Are Heating Up At Erie Events

By Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

If looking out your window and seeing April snow makes you melancholy, don’t worry, we’ve got just what can cheer you up.

While the weather has yet to make the turn, all of us here at Erie Events have our sights set on a bright and sunny future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with our very own Erie SeaWolves. The SeaWolves have already taken to the field and their bats are beginning to finally heat up even if the weather hasn’t. We look for the SeaWolves to have another successful year both on and off the field. Just in the month of April, the SeaWolves have a fleece blanket giveaway, fireworks, catch on the field, and more. Personally, I’m excited for all the Buck Nights this year. In late April, one of the SeaWolves’ opponents, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (what a name!) bring Tim Tebow to the field. That will be a series you won’t want to miss!

On Friday of this week, Casey Wells, our executive director, will have information on a possible grant that will bring funding for renovations for UPMC Park and Erie Insurance Arena. If the grant is received, the Erie SeaWolves and Erie Otters will commit to 10 more years in Erie. Talk about a bright future!

Our events schedule for the upcoming months looks promising, too, with a number of concerts and performances ready to wow the Erie crowds. Our schedule of events includes:

  • April 19: Gov’t Mule, Warner Theatre
  • April 26: Brian Regan, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Lloyd and Layton Greene, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Brantley Gilbert, Erie Insurance Arena
  • May 16: Peppa Pig’s Surprise, Warner Theatre
  • June 29: Dierks Bentley, Erie Insurance Arena
  • September 25: REO Speedwagon, Warner Theatre
  • November 9 and 10: Monster Jam, Erie Insurance Arena

We also have a few family-friendly events that we’ll be announcing in the coming days.

As always, tickets are available at http://www.erieevents.com. We look forward to hosting you at any number of our events and we hope you have a great time! All said, despite the weather forecast bringing us down, the forecast for Erie Events is clear skies, sun, and a whole lot of entertainment!