Fair weather fun: Spring Fling returns to Prospect Park

Play ball! The Brooklyn Atlantics will play baseball according to the game’s original rules from 1864, in Prospect Park on May 18.
Brian Sullivan

Spring into action!

Prospect Park will celebrate the arrival of Spring this weekend with a smorgasbord of fun-filled events, including its annual Spring Fling Festival — a long-cherished family-friendly fair formerly associated with the early April opening of the meadow’s Little League season. But organizers of the warm-weather festivity have not forgotten its roots in America’s favorite pastime, so the weekend will also feature an exhibition match between two of ye olde baseball clubs batting under 1864 rules!

“There are still some really fun baseball aspects,” said Lucy Gardner, spokeswoman for the Prospect Park Alliance, which is producing the weekend’s events.

The Brooklyn Atlantics — named after the sport’s first-ever championship team — will battle the hated Monmouth, New Jersey Furnaces at 11 am on Saturday, when both teams will don classic 19th-century uniforms as they duke it out under the same archaic rules that governed the nation’s earliest ball players.

Saturday’s old-timey match up will precede the park’s annual Spring Fling festival on Sunday, formerly held at the Bartel-Pritchard Square entrance to Brooklyn’s Backyard after the glorious procession of pint-sized outfielders marched in a parade to herald the beginning of borough baseball. The past few years, however, left ballplayers and fair-goers alike drenched with rain, and, while the parade was held as per usual this year, park honchos decided to push the fair back to May in hopes of some of good, dry fun.

Their gamble — fingers crossed — appears to be paying off, with forecasters predicting warm weather and rain-free skies both Saturday and Sunday, according to weather.com.

The fair — which has been moved to the Prospect Lefferts Gardens side of the park, near the Prospect Park Carousel — will feature music, food, and fun events, including kid-friendly “Bend and Bloom” yoga classes, a scooter giveaway celebrating National Scooter Day, a soccer clinic featuring local footie fanatics, and other Spring-themed activities.

Watch archaic baseball at Prospect Park’s Long Meadow Ball Fields [West Drive near Bartel-Pritchard Square, Prospect Park]. May 18, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Free.

Have fun at the Spring Fling festival at Prospect Park Children’s Corner [East Drive near Flatbush Avenue entrance]. May 19, noon–3 p.m. Free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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