Free family festival to kick off NCAA men’s basketball tournament


Officials from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, City of Dayton, Dayton Development Coalition, Downtown Dayton Partnership, Ohio, Hometown Heroes and several other organizations were on hand to discuss the event March 15, with members of the Big Hoopla to discuss their Partnership.

The Big Hoopla is a non-profit corporation that organizes all of the Dayton community's activities in and around the First Four NCAA and the Division I men's basketball tournament, and seeks support from small and large businesses, academia, government, civic and community organizations.

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This partnership has enabled Dayton to host the NCAA Division 1 men's basketball tournament for 18 consecutive years. This year, the University of Dayton Arena is hosting these games from March 17-18.
Events begin with a free family festival on March 15, which coincides with the team selection date for the tournament.
The festival will close parts of Fifth Street in the Oregon district and will include:

• A tent basketball court and an observation area to help fans follow the sports news of the day;


• The Hoopla Four Miler road race;

• Big Hoopla Stem Challenge and hot-shot basketball competition with prize giving for each shot made, at the Chaminade Julienne Catholic high school for boys and girls, classes K-8;

• A basketball court on half court to practice free throws, take a pick-up match and take advantage of individual family challenges;

• Family activities along Fifth Street.

This festival marks the start of several days of an increase in the number of visitors to the region when players, coaches, families and fans begin to arrive for the games, which attracts the attention of media, crowds of capacity and viewers by the millions to showcase the Dayton area.

"Each year, the Big Hoopla highlights Dayton and allows our community to share our passion and enthusiasm for basketball with the world," said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. "No other facility in the country has hosted as many tournament basketball games as the University of Dayton Arena, which will now be able to show its renovations to thousands of new visitors.

"The first round games offer a unique opportunity to give our region national visibility and have an economic impact of $ 4.5 million each year in spending in restaurants, hotels and local stores," added Dodge .

The Air Force will have a strong presence at the Games through the Hometown Heroes program, which provides free tickets to airmen and their families for events in the region.

"On behalf of the men and women of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, we are honored to have the opportunity to share this event with you," said Colonel Thomas S. Sherman, 88th Air Force Wing and installation commander. "It speaks to something that we fundamentally believe is that Wright-Patterson is the community and the community is Wright-Patterson. Few bear witness to this more than the incredible efforts and outpouring of support from the Hometown Heroes program. "

The Hometown Heroes program has donated nearly 45,000 tickets to local events to aviator veterans and local students since 2012.

"When you think about what Hometown Heroes has done for us, for the men and women who call Wright-Patterson home on a mission, to the airmen who have made Miami Valley their home forever, it exposes our airmen to the culture, arts and athletics throughout this great region, and gives them the opportunity to be much more integrated with the people who love and love them so much, surrounding Wright-Patterson, "said Sherman.

These community ties will continue at half-time, he added, which will include a swearing-in ceremony for newly recruited airmen. The Hometown Heroes program started in 2004 with the Dayton Dragons and a partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

"The program actually took its life because the Dragons program was really growing, and there it spread to other aspects of our community outside of baseball, to include the Victoria Theater Association, the University of Dayton Supports, the Dayton Art Institute, at the Fraze Pavilion and the Levitt Pavilion, ”said Hoagland. "It's a way for the Dayton and Wright-Patterson communities to come together and just a way for us as a community to come together and a way for us to thank Wright-Patt for all they do for this region."

For more information on the Big Hoopla Family Celebration Festival, visit Pre-registration for the STEM challenge on is strongly encouraged.

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