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Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Kala McLauren and Jason Walling are just two of the faces you might see when ordering at the concession stand at the Ace Basin Sports Complex.

We sure have come a long way since 1908 when the song “Take me out to the ball game” was written. The chorus of the famous song, traditionally played during the seventh-inning stretch of baseball games, goes:
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.
Peanuts and Cracker Jack? Really? Maybe you will find these items for sale at Major League parks across America, but I doubt you will find something so simple in the concession stands at the Ace Basin Sports Complex here in Colleton County. That’s right! The Colleton County Parks and Recreation Department is setting the bar high when it comes to concession stand food.
It’s been just over a year that Courtney Stevenson was brought on board as the Colleton County Parks and Recreational Concessions Coordinator. Hired in March of 2015, Stevenson was thrown in as baseball and softball season was preparing to get underway. “I really did not know what I was getting into. I really thought it would be easy, but quickly realized there was a lot more to it than I initially expected,” said Stevenson on her full time position. Being the only full time employee in the concessions area of the Parks and Recreational Department, Stevenson is solely responsible for following a budget and keeping park-goers happy. Some of her job duties include keeping inventory, ordering, unloading trucks and stocking two concession stands; one located at the front of the park and the other located in the back at the newer fields.
Stevenson admits this ball season has run smoother than last year. “Last year was a test and this year I feel like we are really ironing some things out. It has been a great spring season and the public has been overwhelmingly happy with the schedule and the games starting a little earlier in the spring this year,” said Stevenson. She went on to say she has around 7 part-time employees that help make her job easier and a lot of fun. “The kids we hire all mesh really well. They are high school and college students who are good workers and who don’t mind working not only during out recreation ball nights but also 10-12 hours a day on the weekends when we host travel ball tournaments.”
Stevenson is the daughter of John and Sharon Stevenson, former owners of the Ivanhoe Movie Theatre. The notion of hiring students to fill the part time positions came from her experience while helping with the theatre. “Kids are just great workers. They are happy and that is what visitors like to see,” said Stevenson.

Anna Lee, Kala McLauren, and Chelsea Moyer are all part-time employees in the concession stand. The trio has a system down to keep the line moving for those who are purchasing items from the park eatery. Photos by Christie Slocum

French fries tend to be the number one seller at the ball park but don’t let that fool you into thinking that is what they are known for. Stevenson works closely with Chris Myers, Director of Colleton County Park and Recreation. The duo strives to bring a great experience and full belly to all guests to visit the park. “Chris likes to try new ideas and keep things fresh. He has allowed me to bring special items in to preview and some, like our funnel cake, become so popular they make it to our regular menu,” said Stevenson. Coming soon, park-goers will see shrimp and possible BBQ featured on the special board for a chance to becoming a permanent item. Other popular items are the chicken wings, chicken strips and nachos with cheese. Sadly, peanuts and Cracker Jack were tried but were not popular so folks will have to forget the historically loved snacks at the complex.
This past week, the ball park served three nights of regular recreational ball games and a weekend baseball tournament with 41 teams attending. Statically, there are 12 ball players on each team and each player will bring 2.5 fans to watch them play and that equals a LOT of FRIES. “We want people from across the state to know Colleton as not only one of the best complexes to come and play ball but also one of the best ball parks to eat. Our prices are fair and the quality of our food is great,” said Stevenson.
Next time you are out at the “old ball game,” stop by the concession stand and give them a try. They feel sure you will have an enjoyable experience and will also enjoy some great food.

Christie Slocum (330 Posts)