Note: This was originally written for another publication. I expanded it and changed things as necessary for the blog.

Enjoying chili cheese fries and sno-cones at Historic Hicks Field.

Chili cheese fries are delicious. They are even more delicious when you’re sharing them with your kids at an Edenton Steamers game.

Recently, my kids and I attended the Steamers Fan Fest and the season opener against the Morehead City Marlins. The past two seasons, I worked evening shift. Most nights, I finished laying out the Daily Advance when the games were wrapping up. I often saw the fireworks going off while walking home, hoping to one day see them up close.

This summer, I have that chance. I’m not going to waste it.

If you haven’t gone to a Steamers’ game, you should. The Steamers, along with other teams in the Coastal Plains League, is made up of college baseball players looking to hone their skills during the summer. Edenton residents host the players in their homes during the season. They make public appearances at places such as the Edenton Farmers Market, Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library, etc., as ambassadors of their sport and hometowns.

Sam the Clam participates in knockerball as he goes in to knock down Mountain Kid 2 during Edenton Steamers Fan Fest. MK2 was OK.

During Fan Fest, my sons ran into Sam the Clam, one of the Steamers’ mascot. Actually, Sam ran into Robert, who was trying out the knockerballs out with his brother, Joseph. After the fifth-grader fell on impact and rolled around in his inflatable ball, you could hear him laugh with delight.

Pam and Clam helps us play spikeball.

Pam, the female mascot, played spikeball with us and a few Steamers. The players were poised and friendly. My kids never played spikeball before, but the players were patient and kind as we attempted to play. They cheered everyone on when the game went well. It was nice to see my kids connect with someone.

Fan Fest left a lasting impression. While MK2 professes to not be a people person, during the season opener he looked like he was at home — comfortable and with family. He and MK3 remembered the players with which they played spikeball. They also had some good stories to tell their sister about Fan Fest while we waiting for the opening night game to start.

The Edenton Steamers watch the ceremonial first pitch.

The Edenton Steamers use a hashtag, #clamily, on its social media feed. Indeed, the team is a clam family — clamily. When you go into the ballpark, you see a lot of familiar faces in the stands. People from local organizations work the concession stands and merchandise trailer.

Local businesses sponsor every home game. During opening night, the local hospital handed out cups and fans as part of their sponsorship. The business I work for is also sponsoring a night. That reminds me, I need to teach a kid how to throw a baseball to the catcher before that night.

Historic Hicks Field, built in the 1920s, has an vibe of tradition. Your parents, their parents and their parents’ parents probably sat on the wooden bleachers right where you are sitting. The stadium is in the National Registry of Historic Places.

Sam the Clam visits a fan in the rain during opening night of the Edenton Steamers’ 2019 season.

While my kids didn’t make it through the entire season-opener, they still had a blast. We got wet, but Sam came out and made things better. Proving there was no bad blood between him and the boys, they gave each other high-fives.

A dedicated team of staff, led by General Manager Tyler Russell, put the Steamers season together. I’m impressed by their professionalism and the welcoming game-day atmosphere. I can’t wait to see the season unfold.

Go Steamers!