Health & Wellness

Fans cheer on Snappers at inaugural night of new ABC Supply Stadium

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BELOIT — The opening of the ABC Supply Stadium was a homerun for downtown Beloit and Snappers fans who enjoyed food, family and baseball on the new stadium’s opening evening Tuesday.

As fans waited for the Beloit Snappers to take on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, they praised the glistening new stadium’s offerings and lined up for hot dogs, ice cream, beer and other treats.

Gary Zimmerman of Beloit brought his wife, Aleda Zimmerman, for a special night.

“It’s so incredible. It’s something Beloit has needed for a long time—not necessarily a stadium, but the enthusiasm,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman had a special connection to the site as it was once home to the city’s wastewater treatment plant where he worked years ago. He was happy to see a field where offices once sat.

“I’ve lived in Beloit 45 years and I’ve seen so many positive improvements thanks to Diane Hendricks,” Zimmerman said.

ABC Supply Co. Chairman and Owner Diane Hendricks was one of the main private donors behind the stadium.

Gerry and Diane Flaugher of Beloit rounded up their friends Norma and Arlene Gunnink of Clinton for the big night.

“It’s fabulous,” Gerry Flaugher said. “If the word isn’t out yet, it will be.”

The Flaughers said they put going to the new stadium on their “bucket list” for the summer. They told their friends the Gunninks about their plans over breakfast one day and their friends purchased tickets two hours later.

“It’s just fabulous,” Norman Gunnink said.

Jon and Amanda Urish brought son Shaler Urish and daughter Julia Urish, nephew Nate Johnson and other kids to the game.

“I’m excited about the food,” Julia Urish said.

“I like to catch foul balls, and have the Dippin’ Dots,” Shaler Urish said.

Some of the kids had been to the stadium last Thursday where they watched an outdoor movie, the baseball themed “The Sandlot.”

“Now they think they own the place,” joked Amanda Urish.

“It’s ours,” Shaler Urish added.

Amanda Urish said it’s nice to have a first-class facility in Beloit to watch minor league baseball.

“I’m amazed how quickly seats sold out,” she said.

Brandon McCollum of Janesville, a Snappers fan since birth, brought his 4-year-old son Grayson McCollum and 13-year-old daughter Bryelle McCollum. They were celebrating with nachos, cheese curds and a soft pretzel.

“It’s awesome,” little Grayson said.

Brittany Andrews of Beloit brought her children, Oakley Larson, 1, Henry Larson, 5, Maddux Larson, 9, and Sydney Andrews, 14, along with other family members. Sydney and her friend Autumn Meris were donning Beloit Pride Softball T-shirts for the occasion.

Mom Brittany said with the softball and baseball season for kids coming to a close, she was excited to spend a lot of time at the stadium in the coming months to keep the baseball going.

Shortly before the game, City Manager Lori Curtis Luther shared with the crowd how the city provided the land and private donors made the stadium possible, with the most significant contribution by Hendricks.

“Let’s say ‘thank you,’” Luther said. “This is in a word…transformational.”

The estimated cost of the stadium was $37 million. Seating about 3,500, it was built in 13 months. Geronimo Hospitality is in charge of concessions.

Earlier this month Gateway Professional Baseball announced Beloit Health System and First National Bank and Trust as its founding partners.

As part of the multi-year agreements, both organizations will be featured as part of branded spaces on the stadium’s upper level, the Beloit Health System Club and the First National Bank and Trust Group Suites.

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