Annual Hotlanta Softball League tournament brings teams and players to ATL for the long holigay weekend.
By Matthew Holley
Gay Memorial Day is right around the corner and with that rolls into town a lot of scrumptious peaches as the national Big Peach gay softball tournament commences for the long, jock filled weekend on the field by day and in the bars by night.
The Big Peach Softball Tournament is one of the largest gay softball competitions in the United States. Hundreds of fellas on more than 50 teams descend upon Midtown with their bats and balls in hand. Players travel far and wide from places like Boston, Las Vegas and Texas to prove who has the best softball skills in the country.
Hosted by Hotlanta Softball League, the annual event is highly anticipated and never disappoints. Our own gay Atlanta fields teams in each of the selected Divisions.
The League Board extends its heartfelt congratulations and warm welcome to its newest Co-Director Kyle Erickson, who joins veteran Terry McGee as Co-Director of the 2017 Tournament. Both men have worked diligently to comfortably and fabulously host all the visitors
The Big Peach tournament Divisions A/B, C & D take place in two parks, Southside Softball Complex in Atlanta, and Johnson Park in Conyers. Conveniently located close to the host hotel, Crowne Plaza Midtown, players, friends and all guests receive special rate offers with tournament credentials, including access to all events, markdowns on hotel outlets, complimentary drinks and the always-expedient valet parking.
Patrons will also be within walking distance to most of the restaurant and bar sponsors.
Check out the following, full rundown of daily events and game schedule below. From morning to night, every day is jam-packed with opportunities to enjoy the best gay Atlanta has to offer, including all the moments to kick-it and sneak in a few butt pats.
Player Bag Stuffing & Beer Bust
Thursday, May 25
Join all of your Big Peach bigwigs, players and volunteers for a $10 beer bust, full, delicious menu, the booty grinding DJ Kenny De, the traditional bag-stuffing and just all around feeling froggy at FROGS Midtown, one of the tournament’s highly supportive sponsors.
Registration & Opening Party
Friday, May 26
The infamous, yet ever so fun Player Registration Party kicks off on Crown Plaza Midtown Atlanta’s gorgeous rooftop pool deck. Serene and stunning views of the Atlanta skyline sets the backdrop as guests will enjoy a lavish dinner complete with poolside drinks, fun activities and one banging DJ.
Player registration begins at 5:00pm and runs until 10:00pm. According to Big Peach officials, “All registrants will automatically be eligible for some awesome giveaways prizes throughout the night. Giveaways include a complimentary room, Braves memorabilia, gift cards, and a liquor basket! *(no purchase necessary!)*”
And to top the night off, the guest emcee will host a smoldering, pants-tightening Mr. Big Peach contest. Winning contestants will receive a complimentary room, cash prizes, and gift cards. Get ready boys to show off that peach for all to see.
Big Peach Games & Bar Crawl
Saturday, May 27
Strap on those booty-hugging pants, grab your bat and bet ready to play ball. The day everyone has been waiting for arrives and excitement builds up as A/B & D Divisions play at Southside, while across town C Divisions prepare to run the field at Johnson Park. Both Divisions begin that morning at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. Don’t forget your water, sunscreen and whopping team spirit as you cheer on these boys in the summer sun.
Although no official events are planned Saturday night due to the length the games will last, once the sun goes down Big Peach officials encourage all players and patrons to visit the restaurant and bar sponsors for all of your team outings and dinners.
Known as the Big Peach Bar Crawl, you and your friends will have the limitless opportunity to mix and mingle with cute local and out-of-town players at hotspots such as the Atlanta Eagle, Heretic, Woof’s, Blake’s on the Park, etc.
Awards Ceremony & Closing Party
Sunday, May 28
The final games continue on Sunday morning then join all the boys back at the Heretic for another off-the-chain Closing Party from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Word on the street is this year’s send-off will be the hugest yet. The Big Peach Closing Party crowns all tournament winners and celebrate another successful weekend in style, and it continues the day-long Summer Kickoff Party at Heretic (See our preview in this issue). There’s no cover with the official tournament wristband (given at registration).
As last year, DJ Mike Pope keeps the beats strong and all night long as the sun goes down. Dance, drink and rock the front patio like there is no tomorrow.
Beginning with 1984’s Armory Classic, the Big Peach Softball Tournament has flourished and transformed what was once a small gathering of players into a colossal jamboree of LGBT athletes who revel in fierce competition and the riches this tournament brings to Atlanta’s local charities.
Percentages of proceeds raised throughout the weekend goes directly back to gay Atlanta, allowing the community to continue to strive for the betterment of those less fortunate and to foster the relationships built by all of the fantastic men from around the nation.
Big Peach Tournament takes place May 25-May 28 at Southside Softball Complex, 3460 Jonesboro Road; and Johnson Park, 1781 Ebenezer Road NW, Conyers, with off-site events planned each evening. Visit hslbigpeach.org. For host hotel, visit cpatlantamidtown.com, and use group code HSC.