Press release from Asheville-Buncombe Regional Sports Commission:
The Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships return to Asheville for its seventh-straight year, with several signature events, a free concert and a salute to Asheville’s Hometown Heroes surrounding the 2018 tournament.
Highlighting the festivities is Monday night’s Hometown Heroes, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, as well as Duke Energy, Hedrick Industries, Renaissance Asheville Hotel and MB Haynes. These companies have combined to purchase 2000 tickets to the men’s championship game, which will be distributed to area first responders, police, fire, medical professionals, teachers and military personnel.
The Downtown Dribble presented by Champion Credit Union returns on Saturday, with approximately 800 kids dribbling through the streets of Asheville. Each kid will receive a free ticket to the first men’s game on Saturday at the US Cellular Center. Prior to the Downtown Dribble will be Kids Fest, located in Pack Square, beginning at 9 am. Kids Fest will incorporate kid-friendly activities with healthy lifestyle exhibits and is sponsored by Champion Credit Union with co-hosts the YMCA of Western NC and iHeart radio. Saturday will also bring back last year’s Teddy Bear Toss, benefiting Mission Children’s Hospital.
Sunday brings the return of the Ingle’s JamFest Day which is a free concert with Joe Lasher, Jr and Lyric as the performers located at 68 Haywood Street. Along with great entertainment, there will be food trucks and other vendors for a free family fun event.
Details for events surrounding the 2018 Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships can be found below:
Education Days– Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2
The Southern Conference will be playing host to local elementary school children in Asheville and the surrounding region for the 11: am women’s quarterfinal round game on Thursday, March 3 and the 11 am women’s semifinal round game on Friday, March 4. Allegra, Four Points by Sheraton, and Mast General Store will be providing SoCon rally towels for all of the participants.
Mission Health and Wellness Day – Friday, March 2
The day will start with Southern Conference mascots providing smiles and laughter to children at the Mission Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Western North Carolina. Mission Children’s Hospital has 130 beds, averages 3,000 patient admissions to its pediatric inpatient units, 4,500 outpatient pediatric surgeries and nearly 14,000 pediatric emergency department visits annually.
Downtown Dribble presented by Champion Credit Union and Kids Fest – Saturday, March 3
Pack Square in downtown Asheville will be populated with games and interactives for kids, as well as cheerleaders, bands and mascots. Kids Fest will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m., with the start of the Downtown Dribble presented by Champion Credit Union. Each kid participating in the Downtown Dribble will receive a free T-shirt and basketball and participate in a dribble parade from Pack Square to the front door of the U.S. Cellular Center. Participants in Downtown Dribble will also receive free admission to the men’s quarterfinal session at noon. Each year, the number of participants in the Downtown Dribble has increased with over 650 participating in 2017.
SoCon Teddy Bear Toss – Saturday, March 3
Make a donation to Mission Children’s Hospital and you will receive a stuffed animal to throw on the court during the 2018 SoCon Teddy Bear Toss. Bears thrown will be donated to Mission Children’s Hospital and provided to kids visiting the hospital for treatments. 1,000 bears are available and ready to put a smile on the face of a child.
Ingles JAMFEST- Sunday, March 4
Family fun highlights Sunday at the SoCon Tournament with the Women’s Championship beginning at Noon. The Ingles JAMFEST, an outdoor tailgate party from 1:30 – 3:45 pm at 68 Haywood Street across from the U.S. Cellular Center will provide great entertainment between the Women’s Championship and the Men’s Semifinals at 4 pm. Ingles JAMFEST will feature local food and beverage vendors and musical performances by Asheville’s own Lyric and Joe Lasher Jr. Ingles JAMFEST will also benefit Eblen Charities and its Hoops Against Hunger project.
Hometown Heroes presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina – Monday, March 5
The final day of competition at SoCon 2018 will honor the people and organizations that help enrich and keep people safe every day. Members of the military, fire, police, emergency services, charitable organizations, government and civil service will be recognized and all in those fields will be afforded an opportunity to witness the men’s championship game at 9 p.m.
For more information about each event, the tournament or ticket sales, please visit SoConhoops.com.