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07/07/08 3:30 PM ET

FanFest has something for everyone

Five-day event to usher in All-Star Game with historic style

NEW YORK -- Most people can only daydream about the chance to stand at the plate against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera or to take the mound and put one past Derek Jeter.

But beginning Friday through July 15, fans will get that opportunity.

Well, almost.

As part of DHL All-Star FanFest, fans can try to hit a pitch off of life-size images of Rivera, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang in video batting cages. Fellow hurlers can test their strikeout skills against Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

It's one of the many interactive activities that will be offered during the five-day event held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center leading up to the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15.

FanFest has been a part of All-Star week since 1981, and this year it will be held in conjunction with the final All-Star Game to be played at Yankee Stadium.

Director of special events for Major League Baseball Jackie Secaira-Cotto said New York will provide a special atmosphere for this year's FanFest.

"Speaking as a Yankees fan, one attraction that's going to be really special is the Hometown Heroes," she said. "There's going to be a lot of memorabilia from Cooperstown and a time line that captures a lot of neat things in Yankees history."

The memorabilia on display will include jerseys of former players and chairs from the old, current and new Yankee Stadiums.

And Secaira-Cotto said the variety of activities offered means there's something for fans of all ages.

"As a mom of a 6-year-old, I can tell you my daughter will have a great time," she said. "There are attractions that capture a lot of the history that adults will appreciate, and there's also something for everybody in between."

Fans can check out photo attractions where they can have their face inserted into the back page of the New York Post or put on their favorite team's uniform to create their own trading card.

In another interactive activity, fans can use a trampoline and a ball to simulate a game-saving catch situation.

The first four days will also feature a non-traditional home run contest. In the State Farm Mascot Home Run Derby, mascots from across the league will compete through four rounds to prove who is the true slugger.

Former baseball players will be on hand every day of the event to sign autographs, run clinics and meet the fans. Yankees great Yogi Berra will kick things off on Friday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and later run a clinic for children.

The clinics will be held on the center of the show floor on the Aquafina Diamond, which will be set up like a small stadium. Fans can catch a glimpse of a current Yankees All-Star on July 14 when Jeter will take a break from the ballpark to offer a clinic at FanFest, and Cal Ripken will run several clinics as well.

This year's All-Star week boasts more Hall of Famers than ever before, and featured players will make appearances at FanFest throughout its duration to take part in the celebration.

As part of Major League Baseball's efforts to make All-Star week a green event, fans can get a ride to the Javits Center on clean air hybrid buses, which will leave from Grand Central Station and Penn Station, Friday through July 15.

Hours for FanFest are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 14, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 15. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for children ages 2 through 12, seniors 65 and over, and college students or members of the military. They can be purchased at Yankee Stadium, yankees.com or through TicketMaster outlets.

Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.