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Centennial Field

Burlington, VT

Home of the Vermont Lake Monsters

3.6

3.8

Centennial Field (map it)
University Road
Burlington, VT 05401


Vermont Lake Monsters website

Centennial Field website

Year Opened: 1906

Capacity: 4,415

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Green Mountain Goodness

The first incarnation of the Centennial Field ballpark was part of an athletic complex constructed in 1906 to celebrate not the Centennial of the United States, but that of the first graduating class of the University of Vermont. The third and current grandstand at the site was built in 1922, making it the oldest ballpark in use in the minor leagues. The old park hasn't been left as-is, however, and has undergone a number of major facelifts and almost annual upgrades in recent years, including a new scoreboard and increased and improved seating. The 4,415-seat stadium is the current home of the Vermont Lake Monsters, the short-season, single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics in the NY-Penn League.

This historic park nestled in the small but bustling lake city of Burlington, VT, is a great (and extremely cost-effective) place to catch some minor league baseball action.

3.6

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

Despite its low-A peerage, Centennial Field has a solid selection of food. All the ballpark favorites (burgers, hot dogs, pizza) at affordable prices are covered at the concessions stands that dot the outside walkway of the park. Slightly more exotic Italian sausages, Philly cheese steaks, and BBQ sandwiches are available in the left field concession, and nachos and corn dogs are available in the red barn concession in right. There's not much in the way of signature food, except for the Monster Dog, a foot-long 1/4 lb dog ($4.25), also available with chili ($6).

At the main beer stand by home plate, there is a surprisingly wide selection of suds, starting with your basic Buds and expanding to Shock Top, Landshark, Citizen Cider, Harpoon, 14th Star, Long Trail, Fiddlehead, and Goose Island, all of which top out at $5.50. A couple of satellite beer stands in left and right just carry Bud and Long Trail, so load up at the main concession before heading to your seat.

Atmosphere    4

Centennial Field is a historic park, and as with many such parks still in use, the expansion has gone wide instead of up. The venerable grandstand is surrounded by a wide exterior walkway that runs around the park from left field to right field, past the main entrance by home plate. All the concessions are located in this outer ring in order to help with crowd flow. The grandstand runs from third base to first base behind home plate, topped with a wooden press box under the reserved seating awning. (And that's the only place in the park that has cover from sun and rain, so get reserved seats for afternoon games or if the weather is threatening.)

As with many old parks, how you feel about it will largely be tied to how you view these kinds of stadiums. For those who think the older the better, this well-maintained gem will easily hit a "5" for ambiance. Those who prefer newer parks with their fancier amenities will find it lacking.

The park is anchored by the BBQ picnic area in left and the Kids Fun Zone & Family Pavilion in right. All the grandstand seats rise up into the seating bowl from a narrow walkway at the base of the seats. The home dugout is on the first base side, so autograph seekers who enter when the park opens an hour before the game should congregate there to grab some pre-game John Hancocks. A large scoreboard (one of the more recent improvements to the park) sits out in left center field to keep fans in the action.

Champ, the Lake Monster, is the home mascot, and helps run the between innings activities with the promotions fan team. The usual minor league contests, races, and games of skill are in play, though one unique event was the late inning water delivery to the field umpire by a crew member in a tiny Farrell Vending Service go-cart van.

Neighborhood    4

Burlington is a quintessential New England college town. Upscale country clubs and open-air pedestrian shopping malls with progressive non-smoking and recycling policies rub elbows with flocks of neo-hippies hanging out in parks in a small city with a vibrant culture and plenty to do.

The waterfront area has a number of attractions, including the hands-on Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center, lake ferries and tours, and the Splash at the Boathouse restaurant. The history-minded can visit the Ethan Allen Homestead in the north of town, or you can take in some culture at the fantastic art-deco Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. And, of course, just down state road 7 from Burlington is the Vermont Teddy Bear Company factory, which families with small children will never be forgiven for not visiting.

But the best shopping and dining options are found at the pedestrianized downtown Church Street Marketplace, not to mention the fairly constant special events that are held in its midst. The open-air mall has a wide selection of upscale shops, while also being the main drag for food and drink in town. While the Kampus Kitchen is the only place to grab a bite near the park to the northeast of downtown, the Church Street market has local restaurant favorites, including The Farmhouse, El Cortijo, Leunigs, and Daily Planet, while more drinks oriented folks can hit the likes of Red Square, Akes' Place, and Das Bierhaus VT.

Keeping with the independent New England spirit, there are a number of non chain hotels by the park (Dubuque Lane Guest House) as well as downtown (Hotel Vermont, Wilson Hotel, Burlington Hotel, Sunset City Guesthouse). A few chain hotels can be found downtown (Hilton Burlington, Courtyard Burlington), but most are out towards the airport to the east (Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Comfort Inn, LaQuinta). For a truly New England experience, a few bed and breakfasts dot Route 2 by the university (Made INN, Willard Street), and truly crunchy travelers can crash at the Burlington Hostel by the bay.

Fans    3

The Lake Monsters, in their previous incarnation as the Vermont Expos, were close to their major league sponsor in nearby Montreal, but Oakland, CA, lies a daunting 3,000+ miles to the west. However, the recent affiliate relationship that helped keep a professional ballclub in Burlington seems to be appreciated, as the Lake Monsters manage to stay in the middle of the NY-Penn pack for attendance.

The snug confines of the old park help keeps the crowd focused, and while the turnstiles generally click for families, they stay involved in the game and the between innings contests on the field.

Access    3

Burlington is just off I-89, as well as state roads 2 and 7. As it is on the campus of the University of Vermont, it is also well-served by the city's popular and extensive CCTA bus network (Colchester Avenue at Thibault Parkway stop on the Green 2 and Red 56, $1.25), and the park itself adapts the ubiquitous bus route maps around town in their stadium signage to guide fans through the park. Parking is an acceptable $3 for the lot right by the stadium entrance, and free in the overflow lots across the street on the Trinity campus.

There is also a small "international" airport just outside of town (Burlington is less than an hour to the Canadian border), an Amtrak station northeast of the airport, and a Greyhound Station at the airport. And that's good, because Burlington is a bit of a drive to anywhere besides Montreal (1.75 hours by car). The Tri-City area of NY is a three hours' drive away, Boston is 3.5 hours away, and Ottawa (CA) and Portland (ME) are both four hours away.

Unfortunately, finding and getting around the park can be a little challenging. Even experienced stadium hounds who can spot lighting rigs miles away can be fooled by the seemingly hidden stadium and easily drive past the modest university-style sign announcing its entrance. The park itself is located down a winding road that passes the rest of the Centennial athletic complex before getting to the ballpark behind it.

As with many older refurbished parks, the interior walkways in the seating area are cramped, which is alleviated by the wide walkways on the outside of the seating area, but those faux bus-route maps the park uses are not just for show. To get to the kids area in right field, you have to take a narrow path (marked with Champ-prints on the pavement) between two sheds before emerging on the other side in the spacious play and picnic area by the home batting cages.

Return on Investment    5

Centennial Field really gets it right on affordability. Ticket prices are reasonable and only break double digits for the two best sections of seating in the park. First and third base grandstands are $7 ($5 for seniors and students), and the home plate reserved seats are $8. Third base "dugout seats" right next to the visiting dugout are $10, and the Curtis Lumber Diamond Deck Seats directly behind home plate are $15. Season tickets drop the price between $2-$5 per game, and mini-packages in 3, 5, and 10-game sets guarantee tickets at the most popular games of the year, as well as sometimes lowering the cost-per-game. Group outings of 20 or more lower the ticket price a dollar per person.

Group outings with food included start at 10 people for $11.99 (reserved) or $9.99 (grandstand) for a ticket, drink, and hot dog. The Home Run Package (for 20 or more) includes tickets ($15.99/$12.99), plus a cheeseburger, hot dog, chips, cookie, and drink in the left field picnic area.

Food and drink prices are definitely family-friendly. All the food items are under $7.50, and most are in the $4-$5 range. Drinks top out at $3.25, and even beers are all under $5.50, with $6 for wine.

Special promotions including 25 cent hot dog nights and military appreciation nights (with free tickets for active-duty servicemen) also drive down costs even more.

Extras    3

The park has a few extras worthy of note. The spacious (but hard-to-find) Kids Fun Zone & Family Pavilion in right field gives the youngins a place to burn off some energy while their parents can watch the game. Young fans can also sign up for the on-field games at the fan relations booth on the third base side.

A historic marker at the stadium entrance tells about the origins of Centennial Field, and a display on the outer grandstand offers updates on former Monsters on their way to the majors. One of the claustrophobic ramps into the grandstand features a picture of the University of Vermont 1883 baseball team, as well as inspiring quotes from baseball luminaries. A few baseball themed murals dot the park (including right by the entrance to the Kids Fun Zone).

A souvenir stand in the back of the grandstand has Lake Monsters gear on offer, and a short distance away, a vending machine sells three Lake Monster baseball cards for a quarter, which is a nice touch not found in many parks anymore.

Final Thoughts

Centennial Field delivers an extremely affordable night of baseball in a historic old park in a great New England city.

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Crowd Reviews

Lake Monster Baseball

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

In early 2012, it was unclear whether Stadium Journey would have the opportunity to post a review of Historic Centennial Field in Burlington, Vermont. The University of Vermont men’s baseball program, which played its home games at Centennial, was eliminated in 2009, leaving the Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York/Penn League as its only inhabitant. That relationship, too, was quite precarious until a deal struck in early 2012 between the owner, UVM, and the franchise allowed not only for stability in the years to come (a 20-year lease was executed), but also the opportunity for some much-needed capital investment in the ballpark. From the fan’s perspective, the most noticeable addition is a new 27-foot by 16-foot video board located between the left-center field wall and the picturesque postcard backdrop of the Burlington sky. While fans shouldn’t expect to see any replays of great catches or close calls, it does provide a more interactive experience and gives the old facility a more modern feel.

Like many other minor league venues, Centennial Field offers great value for fans, with the total cost of an evening out comparable to a night at the movies. Stack affordability on top of family-friendliness and the opportunity to sit outside on a pleasant Vermont evening, and the only-game-in-town is an experience which should not be missed.

Monster Ballpark

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

In early 2012, it was unclear whether Stadium Journey would have the opportunity to post a review of Historic Centennial Field in Burlington, Vermont. The University of Vermont men’s baseball program, which played its home games at Centennial, was eliminated in 2009, leaving the Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York/Penn League as its only inhabitant. That relationship, too, was quite precarious until a deal struck in early 2012 between the owner, UVM, and the franchise allowed not only for stability in the years to come (a 20-year lease was executed), but also the opportunity for some much-needed capital investment in the ballpark.

From the fan’s perspective, the most noticeable addition in 2012 was a new 27-foot by 16-foot video board located between the left-center field wall and the picturesque postcard backdrop of the Burlington sky. While fans shouldn’t expect to see any replays of great catches or close calls, it does provide a more interactive experience and gives the old facility a more modern feel.

In 2013, the ballpark undertook a host of additional renovations, most of which resulted in a more enjoyable experience for fans. The formerly concrete general admission sections in the grandstands have been replaced with fixed seats, creating much-needed comfort and a more attractive look.

In addition, approximately 100 field-level seats have been added immediately behind home plate, offering an optimal view for a limited number of fans. Further, a “family fun zone” pavilion has been created beyond the right field fence, including bouncy houses and other inflatables, which has not only improved the environment for such activity, but eliminated congestion in the concourse where the inflatables were previously housed. Other improvements, such as renovations to dugouts and relocation of bullpens, may not be readily noticeable by fans, but are undoubtedly welcome changes for the players and coaches.

Like many other minor league venues, Centennial Field offers great value for fans, with the total cost of an evening out comparable to a night at the movies. Stack affordability on top of family-friendliness and the opportunity to sit outside on a pleasant Vermont evening, and the only-game-in-town is an experience which should not be missed.

Centennial Field

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Very large selection of food, although none of it is very good. The fried dough was cold. Although, a larger selection than even some major league parks.

Typical minor league atmosphere

The UVM campus is beautiful as is all of downtown Burlington. Be sure to walk around and down Church Street.

Fans were surprisingly loud and abundant, although it may be due to the fact that it was a doubleheader.

Easy to get to.

Tickets were cheap but the food was more expensive than I would have thought for a NY-Penn League game.

Fun mascot. The "Party" area in right field is mostly empty, which is entirely a good thing. There is no extra fee to walk out there and several foul balls come out there daily. There are fun promotions.

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Local Food & Drink

El Cortijo  (map it!)

189 Bank St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 497-1668

http://www.cortijovt.com/home.html

Leunig's Bistro & Cafe  (map it!)

115 Church St

Burlington, VT 05455

(802) 863-3759

http://www.leunigsbistro.com/

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill  (map it!)

160 Bank St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 859-0888

http://www.farmhousetg.com/home.html

Splash at the Boathouse  (map it!)

0 College St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 658-2244

http://www.splashattheboathouse.com

Das Bierhaus  (map it!)

175 Main Street

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 881-0600

http://www.dasbierhausvt.com

Local Entertainment

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts  (map it!)

153 Main St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 652-4500

http://www.flynncenter.org

Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center  (map it!)

1 College St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 864-1848

http://www.echovermont.org

Lodging

Doubletree Hotel Burlington  (map it!)

1117 Williston Rd

Burlington, VT 05403

(800) 560-7753

http://www.doubletreehotelburlington.com/?chebs=gl_dbltree_burlington

Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center  (map it!)

870 Williston Rd

Burlington, VT 05403

(802) 865-6600

http://www.sheratonburlington.com/

Dubuque Lane Guest House  (map it!)

9 Mill St

Burlington, VT 05401

(802) 860-7586

http://www.dubuquelane.com

Hotel Vermont  (map it!)

41 Cherry Street

Burlington, VT 05401

(855) 650-0080

Http://www.hotelvt.com

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