Fayette Hoops Festival to bring national championships to Eberly Campus

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

When the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association National Basketball Championships are held next week at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, they will bring thousands of visitors.

The first annual Fayette Hoops Festival has been organized for residents and visitors to enjoy. A parade, a casino night, a 5K run/walk and a free youth basketball clinic are planned in addition to a skills competition and the tournament games.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort will sponsor a skills competition at Penn State Fayette Community Center at 2 p.m. Tuesday to showcase the talents of members of the best small college teams in the USCAA. It will feature contests in free throw shooting (women only), 3-point shooting (men and women) and slam dunks (men only). More information is available at www.theuscaa.com.

Join the USCAA team members for a downtown Uniontown event from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. A parade to celebrate the teams of the USCAA will begin at the courthouse at 6 p.m. The parade will feature at least 20 of the participating basketball teams.

While in town visit the Fayette Building for a Business Vendor Showcase.

Participants include Amy Goodwin; Primitive, Seasonal, and Country Crafts; Apparel by Tim Dye; Backyard Gardens; Beiji Handbags; Lisa Provance, independent Beiji representative; CABi, Frances Klink, independent CABi representative; Cheryl Rubis, handmade jewelry; Christian W. Klay Winery, Cindy Stirling, independent network marketing company representative; Collections by Marty; Girl Scout cookies and information; kettle corn, fudge, and other treats by Gale Hauge; MICHE; Anne Schilling Detweiler, independent Miche representative; Miss Martha's Tea Room with new menu and information; Origami Owl; Chelsea Townsend, independent Origami Owl representative; Pastries by Chris Romeo; Premiere Designs Jewelry; Marissa Springer, independent Premiere Designs representative; Sabika Jewelry; Krystal Patterson, independent Sabika representative; Silpada Jewelry; Jenele Mechling, independent Silpada representative; Spa Faces; Tammy Boyle, Raggedy Ann dolls; Seasonal and Primitive Crafts; Thirty-One; Michelle Hall, independent Thirty-One representative; Tupperware; Michelle Hall, independent Tupperware representative; Two J's Yoga Studio; Undercover Ware; Cindy Switalski, independent Undercover Ware representative and Wind and Willow appetizers; and Marissa Springer, independent Wind and Willow representative.

The State Theater Center for the Arts is the location for Monte Carlo Night from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Everyone has a chance to win door prizes. Entertainment is by the Harold Betters Quartet and disc jockey Mark Rafail. Refreshments will be available for purchase to benefit the theater. A minimum donation of $10 is required for Monte Carlo game participation with proceeds benefiting the Buy Local Network and Community Foundation of Fayette County. More game details are available at www.buylocalfayette.org.

On March 2 Highlands Hospital is sponsoring the USCAA 5K Run and Walk at Penn State Fayette. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the campus Community Center. The race begins at 10:30 a.m. for runners, 10:31 a.m. for walkers. A lollipop race for children 10 and younger wil follow the run/walk event. The entry fee with shirt is $20. The entry fee for those who don't want a shirt is $15. Lollipop race registration is $5. Those who register prior to race day are guaranteed a shirt. Pre-register by calling 724-437-7913 or 724-626-2440.

“Be sure to stick around after the race for refreshments, ribbon presentations and prize drawings, including an overnight stay for two and two rounds of golf at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, an overnight stay for two with two spa treatments at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, one Highlands Hospital John P. Murtha Wellness Center gift certificate for a one-year membership and Pirates tickets,” said Vicki Meier, hospital representative.

Proceeds of the race benefit the Patient Care Experience Fund at Highlands Hospital. All race participants also are admitted free to Saturday's championship games. Additionally, health screenings will be available in the Community Center.

Also at the campus from 10 a.m. to noon March 2, a free Youth Basketball Clinic will be held, hosted by USCAA coaches from across the country. Register online via email to Ryan.Ehrie@theuscaa.com, or matthew.simms@theuscaa.com. Space is limited.

The week concludes with championship games at 12:30, 3:15, 6 and 8:45 p.m. Saturday.

Brian Mroziak and Steve Superick of WMBS-AM radio will interview and highlight various people and aspects of the tournament, which can be seen on Fayette TV online at www.FayrtteTV.org. For more information on the telecasts, contact creative director Dave Slusarick at david.slusarick@coordinated360.com or call 1-800-893-8516.

“The tournament provides a positive economic impact to Fayette County and allows Penn State Fayette The Eberly Campus to be showcased on a national stage. Penn State Fayette coaches have told me the national tournament has helped them bring new recruits to the school,” said Mroziak, general manager of WMBS Radio.

If you would like to get personally involved in the tournament, you can volunteer to be a team host. Each host is assigned a team that is participating in the tournament. A host basically acts as an ambassador to the team, giving advice on where to eat, where to shop, and activities in the area. For more information or to volunteer as a host, call Mary McKee at 724-437-5006 or 724)-970-6732.

“We encourage people to attend the games and support this tournament so it can continue to be held here in Fayette County for years to come. It really helps our economy around here and the businesses in the area,” said Lori Scott, Fay-Penn Economic Development Council Sustainable Communities specialist.

For more information on the tournament and the Fayette Hoops Festival go to www.theuscaa.com or www.buylocalfayette.org or email jenniferk@faypenn.org.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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