Fireman’s Field – Purcellville Cannons
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Fireman’s Field 250 S Nursery Ave Purcellville, VA 20132
Year Opened: 1903 Capacity: 2,000
The Valley Baseball League is a collegiate summer wood-bat league located in Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley, in the western part of the state. With 11 teams from Winchester to Covington, the league has become a hub for collegiate summer ball over the years. The Purcellville Cannons have a storied history in the league, though not all of it has been based out of Purcellville. Originally in Luray, the team moved to Charles Town, West Virginia as the only non-Virginia team in the league before moving to Purcellville in 2015.
The team plays its home games at Fireman’s Field, on the site of a historic picnic site and meeting grounds known as The Tabernacle. In 1939, The Tabernacle was converted to a roller skating rink that still stands adjacent to the stadium. For those unfamiliar with Purcellville, the town has a rather counterintuitive pronunciation – the first two L’s are silent and it is pronounced more like “Percival” as in the former Angels’ closer Troy Percival.
Fireman’s Field is also used for youth football in the fall, but unlike many dual-purpose stadiums, the sightlines are designed for baseball and ideal for the sport.
Food & Beverage 4
There is a concession stand in a passageway under the press box which sells basic options. Meal choices include hot dogs ($3) and hamburgers from local vendor Millcreek Farm ($5, 75 cents extra for cheese.) Snacks include kettle corn for $4.50, assorted candies for $2, popcorn for $2.50, and various other items for about $1 each. Bottled water is available for $1, Gatorade for $2, and various Coke products for $1.50 each. Ice cream sandwiches are $1.50 and freeze pops are 50 cents.
If these were the only options, Fireman’s Field would get a purely average score in this category. However, they are not. The Cannons partner with a local ice cream vendor, Auntie Ra Ra’s, to sell homemade ice cream out of a truck down the left-field line. Prices are higher than they would be at the concession stand, but you get what you pay for ultimately as this is top-notch ice cream. Additionally, unlike in most of the Valley League, alcohol is available at Fireman’s Field, at a separate stand in the courtyard behind the press box run by a local brewery. Prices range from $6 to $8 a drink depending on what you get.
The Cannons put on a top-notch atmosphere from start to finish. Starting with an enthusiastic PA announcer announcing the starting lineups to a cheering crowd and continuing with between-inning contests and even a mascot race, the Cannons really know how to put on an experience. The team’s mascot is a Dalmatian who is appropriately named Cannon, and he can be seen throughout the ballpark. The Cannons promote a lively atmosphere here and that is reflected in the energy in the building during a game.
As for the stadium itself, walking in will put you in a courtyard of sorts which has concessions available. There are two sets of main metal bleachers, one on each side of the press box, with smaller secondary bleachers further down the lines. A scoreboard is in the outfield which shows the line score and other basic information.
It is important to note one particular Valley League tradition. Fans are not permitted to keep foul balls as they would be at a professional game. However, they can turn them into the concession stand for a free ice pop, and in many cases a coupon from a local sponsor as well. Every time a foul ball is hit out of the playing area, you will see kids running after it hoping to get some free food.
Fireman’s Field is located in a residential area so there isn’t much to do in the immediate vicinity. Your best bet is to head right up the road to Main Street in downtown Purcellville where you will find many options. Market Burger Fries & Shakes seems to be a local favorite and there are quite a few barbecue places, including Monk’s and Smokin Willy’s. Old 690 Brewing Company is a team sponsor and if you want to try some more of their beers after the game, they are about a ten-minute drive from the ballpark.
There are very few hotels in town, so if staying overnight your best bet is to stay in nearby Leesburg.
Cannons fans pack the stadium night in and night out and cheer on their team loudly and proudly. On any given night, one will find the stands mostly full of a mix of old-time baseball fans and younger families. Fans really get into the action and can get quite loud despite the small size of the stadium, especially when the Cannons are doing well. Although the attendance won’t rival that of the affiliated ball, the turnout is quite high for this level, and the fans are very passionate.
A trip to Fireman’s Field may involve taking State Route 7 at least part of the way. Other options include State Route 287 and coming from the north, taking State Route 9 before heading south on a secondary road into town. If coming from the east in the D.C. area, you may end up taking State Route 267, a toll road, part of the way, although there are free options available if you are willing to deal with traffic lights.
Once you get to the stadium, parking is available in a lot right outside with additional parking available nearby if that fills up. The concourse is more than wide enough to accommodate the number of fans, with the open courtyard improving things, but the bathrooms can be a bit small at times.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children and seniors, and free for kids in Little League jerseys. Considering the quality of play and atmosphere here, that is an excellent deal. Sometimes local sponsors will partner with the Cannons to make admission free for a certain number of fans, so make sure to look for offers like that and arrive early if you plan on taking advantage of it. Concessions at the main stand are affordable, and while they’re more expensive at the secondary options from local vendors, you ultimately get what you pay for in that regard.
Free programs are available at the entrance to the stadium where you get your ticket. In the middle of the fifth inning of every home game, there is a mascot race where Cannon the Dalmatian mascot will race against several mascots of local businesses down the first baseline. A third and final star for the local food vendors in addition to the main concession stand.
If you’re ever in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, be sure to check out a Purcellville Cannons game while you are there. The Valley League is full of unique ballparks in scenic settings and Purcellville is no exception. While it’s a bit off the beaten path, a visit to Fireman’s Field is well worth it for any baseball fan in the area.