The largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, Hoopfest ‘95, hits the streets of downtown Spokane Saturday and Sunday.
More than 3,600 teams will be shooting, rebounding, dribbling, leaping and defending on the 217 basketball courts that blanket the downtown area all weekend long.
Of course, the basketball games are what lure people to Hoopfest, but there are plenty of worthwhile attractions and events, other than b-ball, to check out downtown and at Riverfront Park.
The Nike Center Court, which draws the most spectators, has various games and contests happening throughout the tournament.
The following is a list of Saturday’s Center Court activities:
Hoopfest ‘95 chairman Colleen Volk will conduct the opening ceremonies and inaugurate the tournament with some opening remarks at 7:45 a.m. Following the brief speech, for a sixth straight year, Hoopfest co-founders Rick Betts and Jerry Schmidt will challenge each other to a free throw shooting contest.
At 8 a.m., Hoopfest media sponsors KREM-2 and KZZU will compete in the first round of the media division.
The Special Olympics takes to the court at 8:30 a.m.
From 9:15 to 11 a.m., school’s in session as the Open Division will put on some dazzling, high-flying basketball action.
Between 11 a.m. and noon, coach Wayne Gilman, who led Ferris High School to a State AAA Basketball Championship in 1994, will conduct a Youth Clinic for burgeoning stars.
Featured Youth Games will occupy Center Court between noon and 2 p.m.
At 2 p.m., gravity-defying leapers will compete in the Slam Dunk Contest.
Select Games will resume at 3:30 p.m. and continue for the rest of the day.
Here are Sunday’s Center Court festivities:
A singing of the National Anthem will initiate Championship Sunday at 7:55 a.m.
At 8 a.m., the Open Division heats up the Center Court until 11:30.
Following the games at 11:30 a.m., women hoopsters will test their skills and finesse during the Women’s Free Throw Shot Contest Finals.
At noon, it’s the men’s turn to sink free throws during the Men’s Free Throw Shot Contest Finals.
Perhaps the most challenging contest of the weekend is the Shot in the Dark Contest. The finals will be held at 12:30 p.m. During this event shooters will assume blindfolds and will attempt to execute as many shots from the free throw line as possible. The winner receives a round-trip ticket anywhere Southwest Airlines flies.
From 1 to 2 p.m., the shooting marksmen and markswomen will compete in the Three-Point Shot Contest Finals.
The Wheelchair Division’s Championship Game occurs at 2 p.m.
For the rest of the day, Center Court will be the place to watch the Open Division Championship Games.
Several downtown restaurants lie in the midst of the Hoopfest action. Some of the restaurants offer outdoor seating. Others will serve as places of refuge to get away from the crowds and chaos. Here’s a rundown:
O’Doherty’s has an outdoor patio right on Spokane Falls Blvd. It may prove difficult to get a table here, but if you can, it’s a great place to eat and catch the hoop action. The Irish opens at 9:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday and will serve coffee, juice and sweet rolls. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. The weekend special: Corned beef and Swiss cheese sandwich, French fries and a cold beer for $5.95.
The Olive Garden also flanks the courts on Spokane Falls Boulevard. The patio accommodates 40, but expect a lengthy wait in line.
Further east on Spokane Falls Blvd., the new Arizona Steakhouse will open for lunch at noon on Sunday. Saturday the O’Doherty’sowned establishment will keep normal hours, 4 to 11 p.m.
It might be hard to view hoop action from the patio at Cucina! Cucina! since there aren’t any courts on Wall St. this year (tough bounces on the bricks). Sometimes, peoplewatching is a more interesting spectator sport.
Of course, if you don’t feel like having a full meal while you’re in hoop land, you can grab a quick snack or drink at either the Nordstrom Espresso Stand on Main or the Hoopfest Food Court on Wall St. in the Crescent Court. The vendors here are: BJ’s, Domino’s Pizza, Azar’s, The Outlaw and Surf City Squeeze.
People can retreat from the mobs of people at Cyrus O’Leary’s and have a sit-down meal. This year the downtown restaurant will be operating under extended hours, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Cyrus O’Learys, which boasts a new summer menu, will offer food and drink specials all day. Plus, it will also open a juice bar on the main floor of the restaurant.
Players and fans looking for a quick carbo-load, can stop by the Spokane Salad Company, which specializes in salads and pasta, and Rocky Rococo, which dishes up pizza by the slice, pasta and salad.
Riverfront Park also has a variety of entertainment scheduled all weekend long.
The other Hoopfest Food Court, which will have food from numerous local restaurants and vendors, will be set up by the Carousel on Saturday and Sunday. Types of food range from burritos to pasta.
The participating restaurants are: Luigis, Gary B’s Express Inc., Cinnabon, Aracella’s, Mattie’s, Side Wok, Domino’s Pizza, Subway, Red Hot Grill and Surf City Squeeze.
Tonight and Saturday, starting at 5 p.m., Spokane reggae music sensation Raggs and Bush Doktor will provide the live musical entertainment in the area by the food court.
After Saturday’s performance, Raggs and Bush Doktor will take their show to Java Junky’s, 221 N. Division. That show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $5.
Also located by the Carousel, SuperCuts will be on hand to groom heads. Haircuts are $8 for all ages, all styles. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Riverfront Park attractions are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday. On Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A day pass to park, which gets you in to all of the attractions like rides, games and IMAX movies, costs $9.95. A family pass limited to families of four costs $32.95.
Rollerblades and bikes can be rented from 9 a.m. until dusk.
The two featured films at the IMAX are “Destiny in Space” and “The Living Sea.”
“The Living Sea” opens at 11 a.m. and continues at every odd hour until 7 p.m. Tonight, there will be a special showing at 9.
“Destiny in Space” plays at noon and continues at every even hour until 8 p.m.
“The Rolling Stones at the MAX,” a live concert film, shows at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets for the regular features are $5, $4.50 for seniors, $4 for kids 17 and under. Tickets to “The Rolling Stones at the MAX” are $9.
The MarketPlace on the north end of Riverfront Park will operate at regular weekend hours.