HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Fans from across the Southeastern Conference are in Hoover this week for the SEC Baseball Tournament.

On Tuesday, they dodged the occasional, steadier rain while watching their favorite teams play.

The City of Hoover says staff is ready to help direct you around the Hoover Met because they want everyone to enjoy their time at the games. Parks and Recreation Director Erin Colbaugh says the city spends a solid six months preparing for the event.

“This is our biggest week of the year,” Colbaugh said. “We all look forward to it and are excited about welcoming all of the fans back to the Hoover Met complex. We’ve been working really hard as a staff and have the facility ready and lots of staff ready to welcome everybody to the gates.” 

Brad Thomas, South Carolina Pitcher Brett Thomas’ father, said one of his favorite things besides watching the Gamecocks defeat the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday is meeting fans across the SEC.

“Besides the team, it’s just seeing all of the fans,” Thomas said. “I’ve hung out with a couple of LSU fans between innings a while ago and they’re always a fun group to hang out with.”

Renee and Sue Loe are LSU fans who make a family vacation out of the trip to Hoover each spring. Renee said Hoover is a gracious host town.

“Everybody is friendly, they’re glad you’re here,” Renee said. “They’re happy that we come and spend time here and it is our family vacation. Most people are like why do you go watch baseball in Hoover for a family vacation? Well, the hospitality, the friendliness.” 

Colbaugh said many of the volunteer staff members have been part of the event for years and enjoy coming back to help as part of a family reunion.

“We have people that work in the parking lot and at the gates who recognize people that come every year and it’s fun to see people that you know from other parts of the country and different states,” Colbaugh said.

Fan Fest is back at the Finley Center next door to the Hoover Met. It is free to the public and kids and their families can enjoy anything from laser tag to the mechanical bull and a live entertainment video board to stay dry or beat the heat this weekend.

The SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover runs through Sunday.