Before the ten teams take the field in search of the 2016 JUCO National Championship, the Grand Junction community gives the guys a little local flavor.

The festivities start Thursday night with a trio events. There’s the annual Challenger Baseball Buddies game, where JUCO teams pair up with special needs Challenger players, and learn a thing or two from the local stars. The game starts at 5:30 at Canyon View Park.

The American Baseball Coaches Association and Major League Baseball Play Ball youth clinic is also at 5:30 pm at Suplizio Field. The event gives kids a chance to participate in baseball drills, get autographs and take pictures with this year’s JUCO players.

At 6:00 pm, the annual Strive picnic will be held at the Grand Junction Botanical Gardens.

The JUCO banquet is Fridat night at at Two Rivers Convention Center. Social hour starts at 6:00 pm, with dinner and the NJCAA Hall of Fame induction ceremony set for 7:00 pm.