Despite the rain, San Diego sports teams gathered at Petco Park Saturday to celebrate America's Finest City and the teams and fans that still call it home.
With the Chargers long gone, the San Diego Padres organized the "Celebrate San Diego Rally" to boost pride in the city and give hope to sports fans. The gates at Petco Park opened at 10 a.m.; the rally ran from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Although locals awakened to showers and gloomy skies Saturday, organizers at Petco Park confirmed the celebration was still on -- rain or shine.
The Padres posted a short video of crews setting up the party bright and early:
About an hour after the gates opened, fans filed into the stadium. The mood was festive:
The event was hosted by the Padres, with help from elected officials, community leaders and other local sports organizations and colleges to give San Diego sports fans a chance celebrate the teams that still call San Diego home.
Joining the Padres for the rally were the San Diego Gulls, San Diego Sockers, San Diego State Aztecs, University of San Diego Toreros, Cal State University of San Marcos, and the University of California San Diego Tritons.
The free public event featured special appearances by athletes and leaders who call America's Finest City home, including Padres Hall of Famers Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones, Padres Manager Andy Green, former Chargers Nick Hardwick and Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Gulls Head Coach Dallas Eakins, San Diego Police Department Chief Shelley Zimmerman, and many more.
When Hoffman took the stage, his signature song, "Hells Bells" played and the crowd went wild.
Green also spoke before the fans.
"I can't express my love for this city. What I do for a living has become so great because of the passion you [fans] bring every day," he said.
"Those of us fortunate enough to call San Diego home know exactly how special this city is," said Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler.
Fans who attended the rally also had a chance to score sweet swag, including a free Padres hat. Fans could also bring their old Chargers gear and trade it in for a $25 vouchers to the Padres Team Store.
Many fans took the Padres up on that offer, happily exchanging their old Bolts gear at the event.
The party at Petco Park also included live music, games, a kids zone, photo booths, a chance to pose for pictures with team mascots and more.
The Park at the Park's whiffle ball field was also open for playing, and the Padres Hall of Fame also opened so fans could brush up on some Friars facts and history.