LAS VEGAS — Forced to improvise and reinvent itself in recent years and canceled altogether in 2022, the Cardinals are bringing their annual fanfest a lot closer to home.
The 26th annual Winter Warm-up will uproot from its usual downtown hotel setting and move to Ballpark Village as returns for the first time since January 2020. There will be events and access to Busch Stadium made available to more visitors. The event will be held Jan. 14-16, the team announced Wednesday morning.
The Cardinals Caravan is also returning to the road after being parked the past two years. Current players, former players, and broadcasters will visit 20 towns and cities throughout the Cardinals' region. Those stops on the Winter Warm-up-related tour will be announced in January.
The idea of relocating the Winter Warm-up to Ballpark Village has been kicking around the Cardinals' offices as long as there have been plans for Ballpark Village, but this is the first year that they will open up the development across the street from Busch Stadium for a gathering of fans.
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The proximity to Busch Stadium and the team's Hall of Fame adds value to the tickets to Warm-up. Each ticket to the fan event will also be good admission to the team's Hall of Fame and good for a tour of the team's clubhouse, the club announced. Tours of the Cardinals' major-league clubhouse are only available during Winter Warm-up weekend.
The Cardinals also said that tickets can be purchased for individual days of the event, so not just three-day passes will be available. That is new for 2023.
The Winter Warm-up was long advertised as the "kickoff" of the season by the Cardinals, and it is the biggest fundraiser for the charitable arm of the Cardinals. The weekend's events include panels, questions and answers with Cardinals execs, and, of course, the money-raising autograph sessions with current and former players. The Cardinals moved the event online in 2021.
In 2022, the event was cancelled due to the owners' lockout.
In past years, before baseball's shutdown in 2020, the weekend has also included the annual St. Louis chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of the America dinner. At that dinner, awards such as the National League MVP and Gold Glove awards have been presented when Cardinals players are winners.
Three-day passes for the fanfest go on sale Nov. 25 at the team's website. Autograph prices and tickets will be announced in December, and the single-day tickets will go on sale Jan. 6.