Stadium to host more local events

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett tourism officials are planning a few extra events at the Gwinnett Braves stadium next year.

According to a contract with the Atlanta Braves for the team's Triple-A affiliate to play at the Buford Drive stadium, Gwinnett retained the rights to hold a few community events each year.

Rob Patton, the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau's director of sports marketing, said the venue could be the new host to an annual police department bash for local neighborhood watch groups.

The event, which has previously been held at the Gwinnett Center or the county fairgrounds, is in the works for October, and the county fire department is involved this year.

At the diamond, Patton said officials are hoping to organize round-robin softball games between police officers, firefighters and sheriff's deputies.

Officials are also planning to host the 14-year-old championship games for the Greater Gwinnett Baseball League at the stadium, and Patton is working with SEC and ACC officials to try to coordinate a two-day event featuring games by the Georgia Tech and University of Georgia baseball teams.

The events are all in the planning stages, but after using the slated events in 2009 for grand opening festivities, Patton said officials are hoping to take advantage of the stadium for community events this year.