Big Hoopla festival organizers cancel all events

Oregon District street festival had been planned for Sunday to celebrate NCAA First Four and Dayton’s hometown teams.

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Organizers of a major Oregon District street festival Wednesday night decided to cancel all Big Hoopla events for this season.

The events affected included The Hoopla 4 miller, the Hoopla STEM Challenger and the Hoopla Family Celebration Festival, along with the Hoopla receptions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights to help contain the spread of coronavirus.


Following is part of the statement from the local organizing committee:

“We know this is not the way Dayton’s loyal, passionate basketball fans envisioned the start to tournament season, and we share your disappointment. As Gov. (Mike) DeWine raised awareness of the coronavirus/COVID-19 public health threat, Hoopla leadership sought the advice of health experts and the University of Dayton as we made this decision. We will work with our sponsors, vendors and trusted partners to notify attendees and volunteers."


Big Hoopla, a volunteer based nonprofit that organizes local activities around the NCAA First Four and the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament held at the University of Dayton, and the Oregon District Business Association will hold a family-friendly street festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 15.

>> UD cancels classes, asks students to leave campus Wednesday

The 2020 Big Hoopla Family Festival is set to occur on Fifth Street and in a tent set up outside of the Dublin Pub, 300 Wayne Ave.

The group’s Hoopla 4-Miler Race and Hoopla STEM Challenge and Hot Shot Basketball Tournament are also planned for Sunday. 

The challenge — a free, hands-on science for students in kindergarten through eighth grade — is scheduled to occur in Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. 
Due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine recommended Tuesday that indoor athletic events in Ohio, including the First Four games in Dayton, occur without spectators.

>> DeWine recommends no spectators at indoor sports events; OHSAA voids tickets purchased

PREVIOUS COVERAGE (March 10, 2020) — Golden basketball hunt, street food part of huge Oregon District festival for NCAA First Four, hometown teams

Steve Tieber sees exciting times coming.

Not only is the Dublin Pub owner gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day — the two-day event that is the busiest time of the year at the Oregon District tavern — but he’s also getting ready all the hoopla that will come Sunday.

Fifth Street will close to vehicle traffic for a street party that celebrates the NCAA’s tournament and our hometown teams, the University of Dayton Flyers and the Wright State Raiders.

Big Hoopla, a volunteer based non-profit that organizes local activities around the NCAA First Four and the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament held at the University of Dayton, and the Oregon District Business Association will hold a family-friendly street festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 15.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Free family festival to kick off NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

“Everybody wants this time of year to be electric in Dayton,” Tieber said. “It is a really exciting time. This is the place you want to be. It is going to be awesome.”

Sandy Gudorf, the executive director of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, a nonprofit that provides services to business in the special improvement district that includes downtown and the Oregon District, said the event is a community celebration.

“The excitement level is just unbelievably over the top, especially with our two local teams doing so well,” she said.

>> If Flyers win it all, this business will give furniture away

UD is expected to play in the tournament. Despite a heartbreaking Monday night loss that will likely end their tournament hopes, Wright State had one of its best seasons since becoming a Division 1 team.

>> Wright State blown out in Horizon League tournament semifinal

The tent set up annually for the Dublin Pub’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities will serve as the main tent for the Hoopla and Oregon District Family Festival Celebration.

>> PARTY TIME! What to know about Dayton’s biggest and baddest St. Patrick’s Day bashes

The tent will be equipped with large-screen TV’s so fans can watch the game and bracket announcements as well as food and adult beverages.

There will also be a JumboTron along Fifth Street during the festival. 

>> CHEERS! St. Patrick’s Day-themed race coming to Oregon District 

The festival is part of a full day of activities.

🏀 Registration for the Hoopla STEM Challenge and Hot Shot Basketball Tournament, a free, hands-on science event for students in kindergarten through eighth grade at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, 505 S. Ludlow St. in Dayton, is set to begin at noon Sunday.

🏀 Finals for the Hoopla Steam Challenge shootout will be held in the main tent  in the Dublin Pub parking lot. Awards for the Hoopla 4-Miler Race are planned to begin at 9 a.m. at Carillon Park,1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, and prizes from the Golden Basketball scavenger hunt contest will be rewarded.

🏀 Organizers say 20 gold painted basketballs will be strategically placed around the Oregon District. Those who find the balls will receive a prize and a chance to shoot a basket for an additional prize. I've asked what the prizes are

Most Oregon District businesses plan to participate in Sunday’s family-friendly event.  

Sampling of highlights from businesses:

🏀 Food from Dublin Pub, Franco’s and Grist will be served in the main tent.

🏀 Superheroes at Mike’s Vintage will be available for photo opportunities.

🏀 Luna Gifts & Botanicals will have a pop-up plant tent.

🏀 Toxic Brew will feature food from Jimmie’s Ladder 11 in South Park.

🏀 Tumbleweed, Salar and Blind Bob’s will serve items on the sidewalk or patio.

>> RELATED: Dayton restaurant transforming into tropical oasis with new name, tiki theme and menu 

🏀 Trolley Stop will sell sandwiches on the street, have cornhole for children and feature jewelry from Katy Gast, a employee.

🏀 Clash will have a sidewalk sale of vintage sports apparel.

🏀 Heart Mercantile will feature adoptable dogs from Brave Breed Rescue and sell "College Sports" and "Sportsball" T-shirts outside. A new Heart mascot will make its debut and offer a chance to shoot baskets for prizes. Artist Leslea Hipp, the winner of's Best Local Artist contest, will do a live art demonstration on the street.

>> The best destinations for a fine meal in the Oregon District 

🏀 Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery will serve walking tacos from its patio.

🏀 The 419 Diner will serve German brats, cheesesteak hoagies, chicken and cheese hoagies, Impossible vegan chili, potato kegs, potato twists with cheese, Spice Paradise cookies and fruit bowls from Frutta Bowls from its patio and service window.

>> BEST OF DAYTON WINNERS: Arts, Entertainment and Music

🏀 Brim hat shop will have a coloring station and a 25 percent off sale on fur felts

🏀Puff Apothecary will have a free coloring station for children. Children will be able to bead a woven bracelet for free with any item purchased.

>> RELATED: The best spots for casual, late-night eats in the Oregon District

🏀Beck + Call will feature a pop-up featuring work by Photograper Taryn Penrose, Vintageliz Jewery, the Kelby Coil Hair Braid Bar and a mini basketball hoop for kids.

🏀More than 40 Oregon District businesses are participating with a stamp card program. Through Sunday, patrons who get stamps from six different businesses on their cards can be entered to win basketball game tickets, goods and gift cards.

🏀 The family festival will include a stilt walker, living statue, a balloon artist and other roving entertainers; the opportunity to meet a list of mascots that includes the Dayton Dragons' Heater and Gem and the Five River MetroPark's Penguin; the FCC Cincinnati Inflatable Soccer Field; corn hole,crafts, inflatable and giant games; a photo booth; the Star Wars Storm Trooper costume group 501 Garrison; candy creations; sidewalk chalk artist Benjamin "Boy Blue" Baugham; the Dayton Police Department's SWAT and K-9 units and Carl's Body Shop's Batmobile. There will be performances by TRSS Drum Corp, Todd the Fox, the Air Force Band of Flight, ventriloquist and magician Mike Hemmelgarn, 3 Piece Revival, No Refunds and Cirque Lapin, an animal magic show.

>> RELATED: Keep up with Flyer Nation on 

The year 2020, marks the 20th year the first four games of the NCAA tournaments will be played at UD Arena. Before the first four games were started, the NCAA tournament was started by two games.

"They (the first four games) haven't been anywhere else, but Dayton and that's why we want to keep them here," Sarah Spees, Dayton Hoopla's local organizing committee administrator and senior business manager at the Dayton International Airport, said.

Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge has said that the First Four games  have a $4.5 million economic impact on the region each year in spending at local restaurants, hotels and shopping.

>> RELATED: Keep up on all things Wright State Raider of 

Unlike the First Four Festival, an event that drew more than 15,000 people to the Oregon District in 2012, the family festival planned for Sunday is not an NCAA sanctioned event.

Spees said the cost of the family festival has not been determined, but it is a volunteer-led effort.

Companies and individuals have stepped up, donating time and free or discounted services, to make it a reality, she said.

“Just about every person has said ‘what can I do I?’” Spee said.

More than 400 volunteers are expected to help with the activities that precede the start of the games.

>> First Four festival will not return to Oregon District; other events planned

Organizers hope that it helps the community continue to “bounce” back from the challenges of 2019 that included the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes and the Oregon District mass shooting that claimed 10 lives and left more than 40 injured.

“We just want to bring our community together,” Gudorf said.


🏀 9 a.m. — Hoopla 4-miler Race. Check-in and packet pick-up and 10 a.m. race start  at Carillon Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton. More information:

Race winners will be announced at Family Festival in Oregon District 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

🏀 12 p.m. — Check in and registration for  Hoopla STEM Challenge and Hot Shot Basketball Tournament  at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, 505 S. Ludlow St. in Dayton. The opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Registration is open at


🏀 10 a.m. — Oregon District businesses open for brunch

🏀Noon — Main Tent opens with food/beer and TVs for watching basketball games and announcements.

🏀 2 p.m. — The festival opens on Fifth Street with various entertainment, bands and family activities

🏀 2 p.m. to 6 p.m in the Main Tent near Dublin Pub 

3 to 5 p.m. — mascot meet & greet

Stage 1 (Trolley Stop Plaza)

2 p.m. —Craig Muhlenkamp, juggler/magician

3 p.m.  — No Refunds, music

4 p.m.  — Cirque Lapin, animal magic show

5 p.m.  — 3 Piece Revival, music

Stage 2 (Omega Stage)

2 p.m. — Todd the Fox, music

3 p.m. — Pretty Girl Fitness, mascot dance class

4 p.m. — Air Force Band of Flight, music

5 p.m. — Mike Hemmelgarn, ventriloquist/ magician

About the Authors