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Open Thread: Friar Fest Survival Guide

Friar Fest is this weekend and as exciting as it is, it can be a little bit overwhelming. The Official Friar Fest Site doesn't provide much info, but let's try to change that, shall we? After all, preparation is key.

First off, for the autograph hounds. If you want to try to get all of the autographs you can possibly get, you'll have to get there early. Most of the players will arrive, sign for an hour (maybe less, maybe more) and then cut out. They can be somewhat strict about autographs and the number of items, so be sure to have a good idea in mind of what you want to get. Also, they can be strict about photos, though if you're quick about it there's plenty of opportunity to get snapshots. Most players won't mind signing random stuff, but don't be rude about it and don't be too insistent as they'll be trying to keep the line moving along.

The autographing is organized very well, but you may need to be aware of what's going on. The staircase by the waterfall will have signs telling you what players and coaches will be signing and at what times they'll be signing. Last year, they handed out vouchers for each individual signing that you could then use to get in line for your signing later in the day. It's a good system, but you might want to keep an eye out as sometimes people will line up for the vouchers of particular players and once the vouchers are gone, you're outta luck.

If you're not there for the autographs, then the lines move pretty quickly for everything else. The line to get into the clubhouse tour can be long, but at various times may also be a little bit hidden to the point that you can get in and through fairly quickly without much in the way of crowds. I definitely recommend the tour if only to get the chance to spot some jocks.

If you've got kids with you (or hyperactive adults) then the field is pretty open except for the grass. Be sure to pitch off of the mound and run the bases. No sense running the bases if you're not gonna slide, but keep in mind that they probably won't have the topsoil, so it'll be dry and rough on the crotch.

For some really great deals, be sure to check out the Garage Sale. Plenty of game used stuff. A lot of people will be in there looking for gear from the popular players, but if you're quick about it, it's also a great way to score authentic stuff for really cheap... So long as you don't mind having somebody's random name on the back. Jon was able to score an authentic Padres jersey for $35 last year. The same jersey at the Padres store could put you back over $200. Sure, he has some guy named Arvesen on the back, but it fits and it was cheap. Be sure to wash or dry clean the gear when you get home as I'm almost positive that they literally came off the backs of the players.

All in all, it's a great time, and I'm envious of all yall that are going as I'll be out of town. Jbox and Jonny Dub will likely be going. Keep an eye out.

What else am I missing? Any tips for Friar Fest virgins?