7 restaurants to get game-day grub within walking distance of the Dragons stadium

Mac-N-Cheese Dog and 19 other reasons to be pumped about the Dayton Dragons’ 20th season

A dancing man balancing a ladder on his face, new kids zone and a gourmet hot dog house are among season highlights 

Heater is finally out of his teens. 

The Dayton Dragons are preparing to start their 20th season, and there are more than a few reasons to break out the peanuts and Crackerjacks.

>> RELATED: Key events in Dragons' history

National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and Major League Baseball approved the Dayton franchise on February 23, 1999. 

With the Dragons’ first home game on April 27, 2000, professional baseball returned to Dayton after nearly 50 years. 

>> 32-year-old mini golf course reopening with new beer weekends 

Since then, the Dragons have sold out 1,316 consecutive  games — that’s every regular season game it has played at  Fifth Third Field, 220 N. Patterson Boulevard in downtown Dayton.  

Here are 20th reasons to be excited about the team’s 20th season: 

1) New “Dog House” ⚾

The Dog House, a brand new concession stand near the Sam Adams Pub on the first base side, has been added.  It will feature four new giant hot dogs. It will sell a Mac-N-Cheese Dog, a BBQ Dog with pulled pork from the in-house smoker, a spicy Dragon Dog and a Gyro Dog. 

Other hot dog items will be featured by the home stand. 

>> RELATED: Meet the  woman who brings the fun to Dragons games

2) Opening day fun  ⚾

Skydivers from Team Fastrax will signal the opening of the season when they land on the field  on opening day Thursday, April 4.

The national anthem will be performed by the Miamisburg High School Madrigal Singers, winner of the Dayton Daily News national anthem contest.

>> RELATED: Miamisburg High School a cappella group to sing national anthem at Dayton Dragons’ 20th season opener

3) New Dragons Zone ⚾

A  large, new kid-friendly area called “Dragons Zone” has been added behind the center field fence. 

The zone will feature face painting, special activities and Skee Roll, Bull Ringer, Lily Pad Launcher, Pop-a-Shot, Duck Pond and other carnival style games for a $1 each. 

An assortment of prizes will be up for grabs. There will also be unique activities during weekend games. 

For opening day, Green Team members will make  balloon animals for fans. Other activities include glitter tattoos, colorful hair spray and air brush tattoos. 

Joey Votto on a rehab assignment with the Dayton Dragons on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. Contributed photo by Nick Falzerano
Photo: Staff Writer

4) Home plate on display ⚾

The actual home plate from the 2015 MLB All-Star Game “Home Run Derby” autographed by former Dragon Todd Frazier,  the event’s winner, is part of the display from the Cincinnati Reds Hall-of-Fame on the suite level at Fifth Third Field.

The display also includes autographed jerseys and caps from key games in recent Reds history connected to a list of former Dragons including Joey VottoJohnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton, Sal RomanoAmir GarrettHomer BaileyEdwin Encarnacion, Devin Mesoraco, Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey.

5) New fresh lemonade ⚾

 The ballpark is adding Bill’s Lemonade Cart, selling 32-ounce containers of fresh-squeezed lemonade. 

>>7 restaurants for game day grub within walking distance of the Dragons ballpark

Members of the Dayton Dragons Green Team get fans fired up on Opening Day -- Saturday, April 9, at Fifth Third Field. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
Photo: E.L. Hubbard

Here’s what’s new this season:

>>Iconic Dayton music venue has been sold — AGAIN.

The Dayton Dragons have added a fireworks show after their game on July 4, 2018. (Contributed photo by Nick Falzerano)

6) Big booms ⚾

The team plans to have six post-game firework shows for the 2019 season on Saturday, April 27; Saturday, May 11; Saturday, June 1; Friday, June 21, Saturday, August 10, and Saturday, August 31. 

Dragons fans at the  Wednesday, July 3  game will be able to stay to enjoy the  Dayton's annual Fireworks Spectacular after the game at 10 p.m.

7) Saluting veterans ⚾ 

The new CareSource Veteran Salute Program will highlight five veterans stories during the course of each season. 

Selected veterans will be honored at a Dragons game with an in-game ceremony and will be given the VIP treatment. Dates are April 28, May 23, June 21, July 3 and August 10.

In  addition, the season-long  Hometown Heroes Program  will have four special spotlight events for past and present service members  April 12, May 22, June 23 and July 11. The nights will highlight a different aspect or organization involved in the military. The program’s Celebration Night is planned for Aug. 10. 

8) Canadians got talent ⚾

The high-flying Russian Bar Trio aerial acrobat team from Canada will perform at Fifth Third Field April 26. 

The team has appeared on “Oprah,” “Ellen “and “America's Got Talent.”

They are among a dozen acts booked to perform at the ballpark. 

9) Big corn ⚾

A giant, big ole souvenir popcorn bucket will refillable for only $2.   

10) The gang is coming back ⚾ 

Heater and Gem, the  Dragons’ beloved mascots, the Green Team and characters  Roofman, Wink and ATMO are all coming back to entertain children of all ages. 

The Green Team pulls fans right from the stands for their on-field skits. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll pick you next time.
Photo: HANDOUT/CONTRIBUTED

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11 and 12) Nutty mutts ⚾ 

Mutts Gone Nuts will perform at Fifth Third Field during the June 2 game. 

The team includes high-flying frisbee dogs, tightwire dogs, dancing dogs and magic dogs. 

The act has appeared on ABC’s “The View.”

Team Zoom Canine Entertainment, a fan favorite at Fifth Third Field, will entertain fans at the  April 25, May 23, May 30 and June 20 games. 

The team says the athletic dogs will “perform death-defying leaps and unique tricks at incredible speeds.” 

13) Balanced face ⚾ 

Amazing Tyler will perform at the Dragons’ field for the first time at the July 6 game. 

He dances while balancing wheelbarrows, bikes, Werner ladders and other items on his face. 

14) Fun and games ⚾

Crowd-favorite activities and entertainment including Toddler Races, Retirement Village People, Mini-Dugout Dancers, Dragons Organist Jimmy Keys are returning. 

15) Hot air ⚾

Fan favorites ZOOperstars will perform August 23. 

The inflatable characters are based on sports figures with an animal resemblance including Clammy SosaCow Ripken and Ken Giraffey, Jr.

16) Smaller beer ⚾

Fifth Third will have a smaller, 16-ounce beer size option for those who are looking for a little less. This will be in addition to the larger beer sizes for those who like a little more. 

Dragons fans were a welcome sight for the team Friday night against South Bend after a tough trip. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Photo: HANDOUT

17) 20th season celebration ⚾

The team’s spirit will be showcased in a new game-opening video before each game. The 20th season logo will be on the playing field and outfield fence. 

18) New look in the cafe ⚾

AZEK Building Products added a new, lightweight and colorful, flooring surface to the Fifth Third Café.

The Dragons say AZEK Pavers are made of up to “95 percent post-consumer recycled materials, with the added strength of a composite and a natural appearance that resists scratches and stains.”

AZEK also installed new bar ledges on the first and third base side of the ballpark, as well as behind Party Deck C beyond center field.

19) More history ⚾

The home plate from the 2015 MLB All-Star Game “Home Run Derby” autographed by former Dragon Todd Frazier,  the event’s winner, is part of the display from the Cincinnati Reds Hall-of-Fame on suite level at Fifth Third Field.
Photo: Dayton Dragons

The team has doubled the number of historic player banners on the main concourse to 44. The banners show great moments and players through the team’s history. 

20) Fun on the field ⚾

The fourth annual "Yoga in the Outfield" will be held on Sunday, July 28 at Fifth Third Field. 

The class led by Ignite Yoga is suitable for most levels and ages, the Dragons said. 

Kids will be allowed to run the bases following every Dragons Sunday game.

Dates are April 14, April 28, June 2, June 9, June 23, July 7, July 14, August 4, August 11, and  September 1.

Sunday home games start at 2 p.m. Kids can also run the bases at every 2019 Wendy’s Friends and Family date.

For Dragons ticket information, visit milb.com.

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