Lifelong Memories Being Created At Blue Wahoos Stadium In Unique Ways

Ballpark proposals and gender reveals becoming a home run in Pensacola

Austin proposed in late January to his now-fiancé Shannon at Blue Wahoos Stadium, the site of their first date. ( )

By Bill Vilona, Senior Writer / Pensacola Blue Wahoos | February 7, 2019 5:08 PM

As if on cue, a streak of sunlight had pierced through the clouds Wednesday when Mitch Harvey and Jessica Briggs entered the field near dusk at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Harvey had pitched a picnic-style, dinner date at home plate. A table and two chairs were set up.

His explanation was a close friend, Danny Do, the Blue Wahoos assistant box office manager, set up these type of fun events all the time at the stadium.

"I was thinking, this looks a little awkward," Briggs said. "Why is it set up this way? We're going to sit down and eat here?"

Well, not exactly.

Inside the picnic basket Harvey toted was a small box with an engagement ring. After they sat down, he got on a knee and instantly proposed.

She leaped up into his arms. They kissed.

The stadium video board lit up with a pink background and giant words.

She said Yes!

Perfect. Beautiful. So unique. A week before Valentine's Day, too.

Blue Wahoos Stadium is not just a venue for baseball. Or football. Or concerts and other outings. In fact, the multi-use stadium hosts non-sports events year-round, whether it's Halloween theme, Christmas, wedding receptions, or any kind of event.

For intimate moments like a marriage proposal, the stadium has its own lure.

"It feels so special when you have it to yourself," said Shannon Reeves, in her third year as event sales manager for the Blue Wahoos and has helped coordinate the surprise moments.

"This is a community field and we love doing community things and allowing people to have these special experiences they can only get here," Reeves said.

Two marriage proposals and a gender reveal event have occurred at Blue Wahoos Stadium in the past few weeks.

Austin Turnbull proposed to his fiancé last month as the sun was setting amid a crystal-clear sky. A day earlier, it was raining at the ballpark.

"It could not have been more perfect," said Turnbull, who decorated the field entrance with ribbons and put a sign for his future wife, Shannon, to see for directions as she approached the stadium.

"So cool to have it turn out like this," he said.

In both cases, the two Pensacola couples had their first date at the ballpark. So it was natural to consider the stadium to propose.

"I was thinking of New Orleans, but it's not as meaningful and we had so many connections here," Harvey said. "Our first date was four years ago at a game on a rainy day."

In early January, Dalton Ghigliotty and his wife, Sarissa, chose the stadium to have a gender reveal celebration. Neither knew whether their future child was a boy or girl.

But Sarissa's doctor passed on the identity to a family member. A special ball was purchased with blue powder inside.

With Sarissa pitching on the field, Dalton made contact and the ball popped into a puff of blue powder.

The stadium video board instantly blared "It's a boy!" as family cheered.

"We never expected it to turn out so great," said Dalton Ghigliotty. "I grew up in Pensacola playing baseball my entire life, so we thought that was a good way to do it.

"Absolutely, it was a total surprise to us which made it so great. The whole event was so phenomenal. Nothing could compare to Blue Wahoos Stadium for having something like that.

"I can't thank Shannon (Reeves) enough for all she did to make this happen. Everyone was so happy about it."

During the Blue Wahoos 2018 season, Reeves played a role in a proposal that involved a couple walking along outside the stadium.

With Reeves and another member of the front office pretending they were setting up for an event, the fiancé asked if he could take his girlfriend into the stadium to check it out.

"Oh sure," Reeves said, recalling the moment. "We're just here setting up."

When they got to the field, he proposed, the music began and the video board announced the moment.

"Doing it while nobody is here feels like you have the stadium to yourself and it's really just a unique, Pensacola-inspired way to get engaged," Reeves said.

"The experience can be tailored to each couple," Reeves said. We can play music, we can use the video board. We can use songs they pick out that are special to them.

 "It couldn't be easier. Just contact me and tell us the day you want to do it. We can set it up."

Reeves said she welcomes anyone who inquires about using the stadium for a special moment like a proposal or gender reveal.

She can be contacted at sreeves@bluewahoos.com.


Looking to make Valentine's Day special for the baseball fan in your life? Have Kazoo deliver a gift basket filled with Wahoos tickets, gear, and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Blue Wahoos game!

 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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