- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Directions to RFK:Driving | Metro

Clyde’s of Georgetown is expanding its lineup today with snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts and a Cracker Jack dessert.

The extra fare is in honor of the Washington Nationals’ home opener at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (RFK) Stadium tonight.

Many local businesses — from restaurants to hotels — are swinging into action with promotions today and throughout the team’s inaugural season.

Clyde’s has rented popcorn and snow-cone machines for the festivities, providing free food for diners. Peanuts will be on the tables and hot dogs will be on the menu. A dessert will include Cracker Jack, a baseball game staple.

“I think we will have a good crowd,” said Amy Bridges, corporate marketing manager for Clyde’s Restaurant Group. “If people are not at the game, they’ll be out watching the game.”

Clyde’s has two televisions that, of course, will be tuned to the 7:05 game.

The ESPN Zone on 12th Street in Northwest will be giving away Upper Deck baseball cards. Cracker Jack snacks will be on the tables.

“We think it will be busy because not everyone got tickets to opening day,” said Bonnie Downing, regional marketing manager for ESPN Zone. “That’s why we are doing something a little extra special for our guests.”

Throughout the season, ESPN Zone will host question-and-answer sessions at which fans can meet Nationals players.

The restaurant also will host viewing parties when the team plays away from home and will give away Nationals paraphernalia such as hats, T-shirts and tickets.

Miller Brewing Co. will be hosting tailgating parties at area bars throughout the season with promotional giveaways, drink specials and tickets to Miller Lite’s “Beer Pen” during Friday games. The beer pen is like a VIP party suite within the stadium.

The season also will be good business for hotels.

The Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corp. expects at least 5 percent of fans at home games to stay overnight. That means more than 84,000 rooms will be needed annually for fans, visiting teams and the media.

The Fairmont Washington, D.C. is offering a “Take me out to the ballgame” hotel package that features overnight accommodations for two persons, two round-trip Metro tickets to RFK Stadium, a baseball welcome kit complete with a Nationals’ inaugural program and a baseball cap.

The package, available May 27 to Sept. 5, starts at $219 per night.

“We’re so excited about baseball coming back to the city,” said Diana Bulger, a spokeswoman for the 415-room hotel on M Street Northwest. “We think it’s great for the city and great for tourism.”

The District’s Marriott and Renaissance full-service hotels are offering a Marriott Value Package (MVP) for game nights. The packages vary among the hotels in the city, but all of the MVPs include discounted room rates and a special souvenir baseball with the Nationals logo.

The Wardman Park Marriott Hotel, for example, offers a $159 room rate and a package that includes the Nationals baseball, two Metro passes, free parking, a souvenir program, a scoring pencil and two Nationals caps.The sports bar at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington has created specials that honor Nationals and Senators players.

For instance, the “Jose Guillen Burger” is a half-pound burger with pepper jack cheese, avocado and mango pico de gallo. The “Big Train” — an oversized crab cake sandwichwith seasoned fries — is in honor of Senators’ pitcher Walter Johnson, who played in the early 1900s.

The Presidents Sports Bar at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel will be showing all of the games on its flat-screen televisions and offering several baseball-related specials, including a “7th Inning Stretch” special with barbecue pork and beer.

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