By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The Mt. Vernon Festivals Committee may have just finished the Fall Fest, but a new festival is in the works.
“Folks in the county are coming forward with festival ideas,” said Festivals Committee Chair and City Council member Todd Piper Monday. “That’s what we want.”
The new festival was announced during Monday’s council meeting during the city council member comment section. Piper said the committee was approached by resident Jay Koch during its Fall Fest wrap-up meeting with an idea for a new festival.
“The idea came from when my family and I lived in western Idaho, and very near Spokane, Wash.,” Koch told the council. “They have a Hoop Fest in Spokane, which is the largest three-on-three basketball festival on the planet. It started 24 or 25 years ago, and they had 35 courts the first year, and a couple thousand players. Last year, they had 10,000 games, 28,000 players and 300,000 plus attendees at the event. Spokane is a city of about 300,000 residents. That means the entire population of the city is at the event. They have a $1.7 million annual budget, which they say generates $39 million in economic impact. Since the first time I was there, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.”
After presenting the idea to the Mt. Vernon Festivals Committee, local basketball great Max Hooper was contacted, Piper said.
“We’re working to create the Max Hoopster Basketball Tournament,” Koch said. “Right now, we have a vision for what it could be — a regional basketball tournament that involves other communities that showcases regional basketball legends like Jerry Sloan from McLeansboro and Doug Collins from Benton. We would like to work on an outdoor tournament held on the streets downtown in May. It’s really in the early conceptual phase.”
Piper said the committee is planning a two day event and has already reserved the online url of maxhoopster.net.
“We want this to be for all ages, family friendly, Christian, boys, girls, handicapped, everyone,” Piper said. “We’re going to be talking about this next Thursday (Nov. 15) at our next committee meeting. If anyone wants to join the committee, call 242-3151 at the tourism office.”
In other business, the council: