Dunedin businesses eagerly await spring training crowds


DUNEDIN, Fla. (WFLA) — Spring training begins today for Major League Baseball teams. With the 99-day lockdown finally over; teams, fans and businesses are preparing for the return of the games. It’s a huge deal for those who love the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Toronto Blue Jays spring training draws crowds and Dunedin businesses roll out the red carpet for their visitors.

“We have a maple-smoked bacon popcorn that a lot of Canadians love, a bit of a Canadian in Florida,” said Clay Freeman, co-owner of Harley’s Popcorn.

He said their businesses are booming this time of year, thanks to the town’s extra residents. “They’re spending more and it’s affecting every little store, down to hotels and restaurants and everything. It makes a big difference for Tampa Bay, I think.

Freeman told 8 On Your Side he was happy the lockdown was over.

“It looked a little uncertain for a while there. We were a little worried about it, and then when it finally started and things were done, there was a big sigh of relief,” he said.

Spring training camps around Florida are not open for the next four weeks. Andrew Shaw came from Toronto, Florida and has high hopes for this year’s team.

“I watched them last year when they were here and in Buffalo and then in Toronto so you know what, we’re really proud of the Blue Jays. Anyone who is from our area and from Canada knows what we love about the Toronto Blue Jays,” he said.

The games start on March 18 and the opening day is set for April 7.

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