New at Petco Park: Dishes debut after Thursday’s free viewing party at FanFest

Fans lined up early to see the San Diego Padres at FanFest 2017. Photo by Chris Stone

Debuts earlier. A new spicy chicken sandwich. Mexican Paletas. And upgraded suites.

A week later, the Major League Baseball season begins Thursday at Petco Park with the FanFest Road Opener Watch Party.

Finally: Play ball!

After a 99-day lockout and a five-year labor agreement reached on March 10, the season will compress into 162 games with just three days longer than normal.

Thursday night, fans can watch the Padres’ road opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on the Petco video board beginning at 6:40 p.m. Admission is free, but registration is required at www.padres.com/FanFest.

Prior to the game screening, fan activity includes the Padres Foundation garage sale, appearances by Padre alumni, entertainment for kids such as face painting, and basic and food management at reduced price.

Padres parking lots open at 4:30 p.m. and gates open at 5 p.m.

Petco Park’s opening day is Thursday, April 14, when the Padres host the Atlanta Braves.

So what’s new this season at Petco Park?

The game starts early

Monday-Friday night home games will now start at 6:40 p.m., Saturday home games will continue to start at 5:40 p.m. with some start times at 7:10 p.m. due to the national broadcast window, and matches Sunday home games will begin at 1:00 p.m.: 10 p.m. except for select ESPN games.

New food and drink

San Diego’s best hot chicken called Hot Hen features crispy chicken topped with Fresno Chili slaw, pickles and Fuego sauce on a brioche bun. They are available near Section 316 and at The Draft by Ballast Point

Cucina Stella in the Mercado near section 103 will offer Neapolitan-style pizza and a specialty meatball sandwich with handmade meatballs, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese and served on a rustic Italian bun .

Negihama Sushi, Uni Sushi’s sister restaurant in Mission Valley, Mercado de Petco Park, will offer a variety of freshly prepared take-out sushi.

Additionally, the Lexus Club, formerly known as the Compass Premier Club, will feature a collaboration between the Executive Chef of Petco Park and the Brandt Beef/Ranch 45 team in Del Mar.

Sambazon, available in Section 109, offers a variety of organic plant-based acai bowls, including Berry Bliss, Amazon Superberry, and Peanut Butter Power, as well as Acai Margaritas.

Jack in the Box, near Section 323, just around the corner from the Jack in the Box antenna ball near the right post, will offer loaded tiny tacos, chicken strips, curly fries and mini churros as well as a signature Purple Haze cocktail.

Paleta near Section 112 will bring its Mexican-style paletas (fresh fruit popsicles) to the ballpark – available plain or dressed with a choice of sauces and toppings.

Renovated suites

All 70 suites have been renovated and feature new furnishings, 65-inch 4K TVs, new refrigerators and dinnerware, remodeled bathrooms and more. Guests can enjoy Padres games and other events and are available for nightly, quarterly, half-season, or full-season rentals through www.padres.com/suites.

New Subscription Benefits

Padres season ticket holders can get even earlier entry to Padres batting practices – approximately 45 minutes earlier than last season for at least one game per home, plus additional slots for new Happy Hour members in the .394 bar.

Gifts to the first 35,000

The gifts will be distributed on different days of the week in 2022 to provide more access for fans. Fans are encouraged to arrive early at Petco Park as gifts will be available for the first 35,000 fans to attend with no rain checks issued.

At select games throughout the season, the first 35,000 fans in attendance will receive Padres-branded goodies ranging from action figures, beach towels, hats and hoodies. See the giveaway calendar here.

Many gamer themed gifts include the bobblehead series:

  • Manny Machado – Tuesday, May 24
  • Jake Cronenworth – Thursday, June 23
  • Joe Musgrove – Thursday, August 18
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. – Wednesday, September 7

Theme nights for groups

Throughout the season, theme nights will feature groups, nationalities, religion and an LGBTQ night. Here are some of the events. For all events, click here.

  • African American Heritage Celebration | Friday, April 15 vs. Braves
  • Autism Acceptance Night | Tuesday April 19 vs Reds
  • Educator Appreciation Evening | Thursday May 5 against Marlins
  • Go out to the park | Friday, May 6 against Marlins
  • Nurse Appreciation Weekend presented by UC San Diego Health | Saturday May 7 and Sunday May 8 against Marlins
  • Girl Scout Day #1 | Sunday June 26 vs Phillies
  • Jewish Community Day | Sunday June 26 vs Phillies
  • Star Wars Weekend | Friday July 15 – Sunday July 17 against Diamondbacks
  • Catholic Evening | Friday, July 15 vs. Diamondbacks
  • Country evening | Friday August 19 vs Nationals
  • Hello Kitty | Sunday September 11 vs. Dodgers

Heritage celebrations including Mexican, German, Filipino, Scottish, Peruvian, Irish, Portuguese, Panamanian, Greek, Korean, Pacific Islander, Native American, Dominican and Hispanic.

Sunday specials

Every Sunday at KidsFest, young Padres fans can enjoy bouncy houses, face painting and other kid-friendly activities in Gallagher Square.

Also on Sunday, the Padres and USAA will honor the military. Each Military Appreciation Sunday will be dedicated to different branches, milestones and military history.

Tuesday’s Honors

Five select games from Tuesday will be dedicated to the First Responders Appreciation Night.

Friday fun

At Party in the Park on Gallagher Square, beginning when the doors open, fans can purchase $5 drink specials and enjoy live music and other activities.

Transportation tips

Metropolitan Transit System has added a new optional trolley line for fans traveling from northern and central San Diego County. The UC San Diego Blue Line will run south from UTC to Petco Park daily, offering fans a stop at 12th and Imperial Station near the ballpark.

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