Ever wondered who plans the fun at the Dayton Dragons games?
Well, you’re in luck — she’s our Daytonian of the Week. Meet Katrina Gibbs, Director of Entertainment for the Dayton Dragons.
The Beavercreek native graduated from University of Dayton in 2006 as a psychology and religious studies major. Shortly after, Gibbs returned to UD, and in 2013, graduated with a masters degree in Pastoral Ministry.
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I spoke with Gibbs to learn more about how she took on her role with the Dragons, what that’s like, and what she thinks makes Dayton special.
When did you become the Dragon’s Director of Entertainment?
This is my third season in the role of Director of Entertainment. I started working with the Dragons on the Green Team for the 2011 season through the 2013 season.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your shoes – game day or otherwise?
During the off-season, I am busy planning for the upcoming season -- booking national entertainment acts to appear at select games, brainstorming and creating new and exciting on-field skits, hiring new Green Team and tech crew members, and training our entertainment staff in everything from dance rehearsals to game day procedures to unsurpassed customer service -- everything needed for a family-friendly and fun experience.
Once the season begins, I’m executing plans that have been carefully laid out in the off-season and managing my entertainment team. I communicate with the various groups that perform for our Spotlight on Dayton series, highlighting the local talent of different groups here in the greater Dayton area. I create game logs each night which have all the on-field entertainment, so our fans see a fresh and fun show each time they come to the ballpark. We have over 180 different skits that I can choose from, and that number grows every year!
As a Beavercreek native, how does it feel to be working such an important role so close to home?
I love being able to entertain folks so close my hometown! When people hear I work for the Dragons, almost everyone has a fun story or a special memory connected to a Dragons game. I love being a part of those memories. Knowing that I have a hand in the fun and excitement of coming to a Dragons game is something that I take pride in and something that brings me joy.
What is it about Dayton that interested you both in staying here permanently?
I left Dayton after I graduated from undergrad and joined Disney Cruise Lines working on board their ships as an entertainment host for four years. I loved the opportunity it gave me to travel, but I also looked forward to the feeling of coming home to Dayton. I moved to Orlando for a short two years after I graduated with my masters, but the frantic pace of the bigger city (paired with insane traffic) was enough to bring me back home when the opportunity arose. It’s great to be back among family and friends as well as a more relaxed pace of living that the Midwest offers. Dayton is growing every year, and it’s fun to see what new and exciting things are popping up in and around the city.
How has Dayton shaped your life and career?
Community involvement is one of the cornerstones of the Dragons organization and has inspired many different programs. One of these programs that I get to partake in is through our school program. Every January through March we go out and host assemblies at local schools focusing on various topics from healthy lifestyles to teamwork. I get to interact with teachers and kids, facilitate games, and get create excitement towards their school’s upcoming night at the ballpark.
Share a memory that happened in Dayton that resonates with you.
One of the skills we teach our entertainment team is a few basic sign language skills, which allows them to interact with the deaf community. One year, when I was helping with our MVP program visiting local schools, and I had the opportunity to put my skills to good use. I saw a student who was with an interpreter and I went over to communicate with her using the few signs I knew and included her in the assembly fun. It was such a special moment.
What do you find most inspiring about Dayton?
I love that people in Dayton support the local businesses and restaurants.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Dayton? Favorite place to eat? Favorite shop?
I love attending Dayton’s amazing cultural festivals! There’s nothing like a good band with an accordion!
What do you see for the future of the Gem City in the coming 5 years?
In the last few years, we’ve seen lots of growth around Fifth Third Field. It has really changed the feel of downtown and it’s great to see people out and about. I can see that growth of the downtown community continue in the future.