Fans flock to party

Robert Flaig said it was great to watch his favorite team in the playoffs after “21 years of waiting, baby.”

His face painted half-black and half-gold, Flaig, of Williamsburg, said he came out to Peoples Natural Gas Field to enjoy the atmosphere among a crowd of fellow fans of the Buccos.

Pittsburgh Pirates fans came out in droves Thursday night to support the Bucs at a free playoff watch party hosted by the Altoona Curve.

The game was shown on the scoreboard and on concourse televisions. Concession stands offering food and beer to fans were also open.

“We could think of no better way to share our excitement for the Buccos’ playoff run than opening the ballpark for the fans to enjoy together,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan in a press release.

“With our large video board, the concourse TVs, food and beverage availability, and the other activities we have planned, it will be a great night to be a Pirates’ fan in Curve, PA.”

Pirates playoff merchandise was also for sale at the event. Fans could sign a 4-foot by 8-foot congratulatory fan banner by donating $1 to the Altoona Mirror’s Season of Sharing program. The banner will be shipped this morning, according to the release.

In lieu of tickets, passes to an April 2014 Curve game were distributed to the fans.

Melissa Jasper said she thinks it’s “awesome” that the Curve hosted the party for local fans. Jasper, of Gallitzin, said she attended the Buccos’ final home game on Sept. 22.

Jasper’s coworker, Andra Stouffer, said the weather likely played a role in the sizable turnout for Thursday’s party.

“This was a great opportunity to get out,” she said.

Fans in attendance were also encourage to come dressed to the nines in Pirates gear, as the Curve crowned the best dressed fan of the night. The winner took home tickets to the Eastern League All-Star Game in July 2014, which will be held in Altoona.

Flaig said he was just excited to “get fired up” with a crowd of fellow Pirates faithful.

“I’m just a true blue fan,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.