There is talk that the Royals will not have a winter Fanfest this year, effectively cancelling the new January tradition in favor of a Fanfest during All-Star Game week. I hope this is not the case. It would be a colossal mistake if this rumor turns out to be true.
To treat the winter Fanfest as somehow redundant to a July event is either baffling or supremely depressing or both. A winter gathering is a great opportunity for fans to get a dose of baseball during the long off-season, begin to look forward to the next season, and, in some cases, interact a little bit with Royals players. It's a Royals thing: photos with Slugger, a chance to get Jeff Francoeur's autograph, listening to Dayton Moore talk about The Process, buying Royals gear for the new season, etc.
All-Star week is going to be fun, I'm sure. And the Royals will surely take their time in the spotlight, trot out the legends, celebrate the team's young talents, etc. But the Fanfest event(s) at the All-Star game aren't really about a single team. They're MLB-wide events, and many of the people attending will be out of town fans. Oh look, my kid can get his picture taken with the Phanatic! Cool, Bud Selig will be telling Spanish-American War stories later today. Oh me, Joe Torre will be lighting $100 dollar bills on fire and telling A-Rod jokes at the same time, where do I go?!?
Moreover, in addition to having an entirely different character, the All-Star game is in July. July. The winter Fanfest is a nice event because it reminds fans that, hey, the Royals exist, in a time when they really aren't focused on baseball. There's already going to be some kind of event that week. There's been fan-y type events since, by my memory, the early 1990s. Trust me, baseball fans in KC are going to be aware of the Royals in July. I hope the Royals do a Royals-centric event, or ten, during All-Star week, Go for it. This has no relevance to January.
The Royals have really done a great job in the last few years in engaging the fans and the January Fanfest has been a big part of that. These events have been well-attended and enjoyed by many. The Royals should continue to reach out to their hardcore fans, who deserve hugs and goodie bags for all they've put up with. So far, this is just a rumor. I hope it is proven wrong shortly.
I really hope the Royals don't make a short-sighted mistake this winter.