The Big Hoopla announces Family Celebration Festival leading up to First Four

E.L. Hubbard photography
People watch a street performer during the NCAA First Four Festival in downtown Dayton's Oregon District Sunday, March 11, 2012.

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E.L. Hubbard photography People watch a street performer during the NCAA First Four Festival in downtown Dayton's Oregon District Sunday, March 11, 2012.

The Big Hoopla announced the return of the free Family Celebration Festival in the Oregon District the weekend leading up to the NCAA First Four.

The event will be held on Fifth Street in the Oregon District Sunday, March 15.

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“We are excited and honored to welcome The Big Hoopla back to the Oregon District,” said Kyle Babirad, President of the Oregon District Business Association.

The Oregon District Business Association is working with The Big Hoopla to create an event that will encourage people to visit shops and restaurants in the Oregon District.

The event will feature a half basketball court to practice free throws, grab a pick-up game and enjoy family 1-on-1 challenges.  There will also be events surrounding the Hoopla Four Miler and the Hoopla STEM Challenge that will be held prior to the festival.

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Food and beverage specials and a tented viewing area to help fans keep up with sports news from the day will fill the street.

“The Big Hoopla has always represented more than basketball.  It’s about celebrating the spirit of a champion, an underdog, and the welcoming spirit of the Dayton Community,” said Terry Slaybaugh.

The NCAA First Four kicks off the March Madness tournament March 17 and 18 at the University of Dayton Arena.

ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS EVENT

The First Four Festival drew more than 15,000 people to the Oregon District in 2012 for a bash along a span of Fifth Street that was shut down to vehicle traffic.

Held the day the NCAA Tournament field was announced to kick off “March Madness,” the family-friendly event featured big-screen TV broadcasts of the conference championship games being played that afternoon and the selection show that follows.

There were circus tents and outdoor stages for live music and family activities, as well as food and drink, various high-tech displays from Wright Patterson AFB, an Air Force flyover and a Hot Shots basketball tournament featuring former Dayton Flyers and Wright State players and Air Force teams.

The 2013 installment of the festival was canceled due partly to issues involving NCAA’s corporate sponsors. It has never returned.

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