From the 1974 World’s Fair to Hoopfest 2019
From Expo 74 to Hoopfest 2019, Spokane has been a city that is ‘all-in’ on community events. In the 1960’s downtown Spokane was completely revitalized by those striving to bring the World’s fair to town. Most of what we know as Riverfront Park was developed for the World’s fair from the Clock Tower and the Pavilion to the Loof Carousel and the suspension bridges.
Spokane’s Bloomsday Begins
A couple years later in 1977 Bloomsday became one of the first annual events to halt ‘business-as-usual’ and bring the community out in full force. Many of Downtown’s main streets shut down for Bloomsday when as many as 60,000 people flood the streets to run the 7 mile course.
The first Hoopfest
Then in 1990, Hoopfest was born. Today, Hoopfest shuts down all the main streets with as many as 42 street blocks reserved for basketball courts. It’s estimated that in 2011, 27,000 players participated and around 175,000 spectators turned out to join in the fun, making Hoopfest the biggest event in the Spokane area. This year was no different.
Thousands turned out last weekend for the world’s largest 3 on 3 basketball tournament: Hoopfest 2019. Downtown Spokane shut down completely as the community and many from out of town turned out in full regalia. Many who came to play brought family and friends along to watch. Others turned out just for the hubbub and fun of it all.
Thursday and Friday hundreds of volunteers showed up to help check in teams, lay down tape, and push hoops onto the streets. Saturday morning kicked of at 8:00 with the first of the games. Hundreds of teams fought for the chance to win the bracket on their court. Some were victorious, others were not; but all had a chance to play 3 games and have their thirst for the fast-paced sport quenched.
Hoopfest had something for everyone whether they were interested in competing or not. Spectators at Nike Center Court enjoyed watching elite teams compete for the championship. Center Court also found people participating in basketball challenges for various prizes. Others were excited to be a part of the event by volunteering as court monitors or set-up crew.
While the city streets were returned to normal by Monday morning, thousands went home strategizing for next year. What about you? Will you be participating in Hoopfest 2020?