We took our 5-year-old to the #NHLFanFair on Saturday and let me tell you how much that meant to him. He loves hockey. His favorite player was (and maybe still is) Seth Jones. He's been trying to decide if he still is his favorite after he learned that he had been traded from the Nashville Predators. We took the #NHLFanFair as an opportunity to show him up close the many different teams and that he can choose whomever he wants to root for (although we secretly want him to continue to root for the Preds). Don't forget to save time before you go and activate your FREE #NHLFanFair pass so that you can do all the activities. Everything is free, I think this is just their way of getting a good count on how many people participate in each activity. As we walked around the festival, he was able to see and interact with several of the other teams' mascots ... shaking hands and getting pictures. He really loved the story time, too. It was so funny to see two mascots sitting up there during "Story Time with Holly" featuring Holly Preston, creator and author of Always Books. She was reading a book about the mascots, so when the other two mascots didn't "agree" with the story, they would cover the page with their hands, make silly gestures and try to interact with the kids in the crowd. The only thing that we didn't like about this is that although we were only two rows back, we couldn't hear Preston at all. The story was lost to us, but he LOVED watching the mascots act silly. It was pretty funny. DSC_8795

For any younger kids, there are two specific zones you should check out:

Right near the entrance is Preds Land. There's an inflatable slide, free picture and free air-brush face painting. On Saturday, we also got to meet and get an autograph from the Nashville Predator's Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy (a highlight for my husband since he loves the guy!). DSC_8744 DSC_8746 DSC_8747 The other zone is the McDonald's Kids Zone. It features a section of table and chairs set up for little kids to enjoy coloring, playing some games and more. Flanked on each side, there are two mini courts set up. One for the very young (which uses a ball) and one for the slightly older little kids (which uses a cushy large puck) giving them the chance to play like hockey players during 10-minute games with other kids.

Other Fun Activities

• If you want to get your picture taken with the Stanley Cup, you were supposed to have registered your Fan Fair Pass days earlier to get a time slot to show up and get in line for it. However, if you didn't know about that, you can still activate your pass and get in a line for non-registered time participants. This line gets particularly VERY long. So, my advice is to go straight there when you get there. They will scan your Fan Fair Pass QR code, take your picture and it will be available on the link that was sent in the e-mail when you activated your pass. It will look like this: Stanley Cup • There are MANY skills challenges set up all over. So, pick one and prepare to wait about 20 - 30 minutes to participate. I was not sure our little guy would stand the wait, but he did good because he really wanted to try it out. He only did the VELVEETA Shoot for Liquid Gold hockey skills challenge. You get the chance to shoot 15 pucks at the goal (five at three different distances). He did very good for the first time ever trying something like this.


Photo ops galore are around the festival, too! There's a spot where you can put on actual hockey equipment and take a picture. Out little guy loved doing this! DSC_8805  DSC_8789Mascot Showdown! This drew in the biggest crowd. We were very disappointed with the amount of seating since nearly all the adults took to the bleachers leaving several kids trying to see through the crowd from the floor or sitting atop their dad's shoulders. So, needless to say, my husband and I saw hardly a thing, but our little guys got a great view of the mascots playing games like broom ball and others. It was a great crowd pleaser. IMG_4996 • Free Concerts at the Honda Stage inside! It was nice to see the stars of Nashville do their performances on Saturday. But, check the schedule online to see who plays Sunday. DSC_8773Autograph stage. Yeah, well, if you don't get there first thing in the morning and get right in line, be prepared to wait ... and wait ... and wait. The fans really showed up for this one!

All-in-all, the #NHLFanFair was an experience that made many memories for us. It's rare that something like this lands in our own backyard. So, take advantage of the opportunity and bring your little hockey fan out for a day of fun! For more information about the festival, check out NHL Fan Fair.