Young and old packed the Napier Sound Shell yesterday as the Hawke's Bay Magpies got up close and personal with their fans.
The team set up drills, answered questions, posed for photos and signed autographs in the build-up to their last game of the season on Sunday.
Magpies commercial manager Jay Campbell said it was an "absolutely fantastic" day with an unbelievable number of "keen kids".
"It was amazing seeing them interact with the players, they got to do skills with them and throw a ball around, they all seemed to have a lot of fun."
A few of the Magpies also went to Hastings Kmart for those who weren't able to get to Napier and gave away merchandise and signed posters.
The weather played ball yesterday and Mr Campbell is hoping this will be the case on Sunday as the Magpies take on the Manawatu Turbos for the K.R. Tremain Memorial Trophy, which they currently hold.
The team launched a "Pack the Park" campaign to ensure the 2017 season finished on a high.
They have ramped things up with ticket sales offering some $7.50 stand tickets and Mr Campbell said they were well on the way to having their largest crowd for the season.
"It is great to know the community stay behind them win or lose and it will be a real celebration of rugby in the province on Sunday."
The last time Manawatu won at McLean Park was back in 1955.
They had already sold 5100 tickets ahead of Sunday's game, selling 400 tickets alone yesterday as a direct result of their meet and greet session in the community.
"It is fantastic to see people talking rugby and we will work hard to get the win as it means a lot for us to secure the Tremain trophy for another year."
The afternoon starts at 2.30pm with the curtain-raiser between the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield and Wai Bush Under 13 sides, which will then be followed by the Lowe Rescue Helicopter flying in. There will also be the usual game-day activities including Rippa Rugby, face painting, giveaways and prizes to be won.
Mr Campbell said the entertainment would continue throughout the game with Big Barrel running the halftime challenge through their Undie Run. People can enter on their Facebook page and competitors will be announced today at 12pm.