During a brief chat with John Allen on Saturday at the Duke Energy Center, I had to remind the Reds COO that it was his initial vision that laid the foundation for Redsfest.
"You remember that?," Allen asked.
As the story goes, Allen and Reds marketing director Cal Levy were having dinner in 1997 at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse when they began jotting ideas on a napkin for an off-season baseball event to be staged for Reds fans.
Redsfest thrived as a capable event for a few years before construction at the covention center forced a two-year hiatus. With an extra year to plan, and a strong financial commitment from club owner Bob Castellini, this year's fest was taken to an entirely different level.
"It's come from the back of a napkin at the Boathouse to this," said Allen of Redsfest, which drew an estimated 18,000 fans this past weekend. "The new ownership group wanted it to be bigger and better than ever. They deserve the credit."
Take it from someone who has attended the Cubs Convention, the standard by which winter baseball fan fests are measured, this year's Redsfest was an overly impressive event.