Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Sun Belt Conference, though all opinions expressed are my own.
Why Our Family has Made Sun Belt Sports Fest a Tradition
March Madness is right around the corner! I say this like we are sports fans, which truly, we are not. That doesn’t mean we don’t love a good party and certainly an excuse for a fun family outing, though. Who knew we could have so much fun watching basketball?
An Unexpected Love of the Game
A few years back, we were invited to the Sun Belt Conference Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships. Not wanting to turn down an invitation for all of us to go out together, we accepted. I was concerned about having all four of our children, at the time ranging from infant to 8 years old in a crowded arena, but we simply planned to leave if it got too hectic. Exactly the opposite happened. We arrived early and hung out in the lobby with the kids. We were greeted and the kids ran around playing. Tickets come with a hot dog and drink, so we had the kids “pick out” their snacks ahead of time. We settled into our seats a short time later and I’m pretty sure that was the last time we sat down. The game was so much fun and there was entertainment galore. From mascots to dancers and cheerleaders to bells and whistles and mid-game activities, we were happily exhausted by the end. Instead of leaving early, like we planned, we were one of the last families out of the arena. No one was quite ready to leave.
Family Day at the Arena
When we found out about the Sun Belt Sports Fest, a FREE event on the grounds of the Lakefront Arena, we knew we wanted to give it a shot. There were games, bouncy houses, food and drink vendors, and a place to sign up for something called a Dribble Drive – I’ll come back to this in a moment. Throughout the late morning and into early afternoon, we hung out snacking and letting the kids run lose. They got prizes and we picked up swag (free gifts) from local vendors. It was most definitely a stress-free community day hanging with our camp chairs and watching the kids enjoy the sun. There was a great band, to boot!
At 2pm, whistles blew. Kids began pulling out their blue Sun Belt Conference shirts and lining up with their blue and yellow basketballs. We signed the kids up so they were able to participate. They were THIRLLED to receive a free basketball, a free t-shirt and to participate in what they called a “second line” into the Arena. Along with our registration to participate in the dribble drive, we received two free tickets to the men’s semifinal game and so we kept the day going inside. As hundreds of children dribbled their way around the path, up the ramp and into the building, I couldn’t help but smile. This, to me, is what a family day should look like.
Make it to a Game
2019 Sun Belt Conference Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships are March 13-17 at UNO Lakefront Arena. You don’t need a babysitter, the kids are welcome. Kids tickets are only $5, and include a FREE hot dog and drink to enjoy during the games!
Sun Belts Sports Fest
On Saturday, March 16th come out to the Sun Belt Sports Fest from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the grounds of Lakefront Arena. It’s a day filled with family games, music and food and beverage vendors. Did we mention it’s FREE? But wait, there’s more. At 2pm, the outdoor action continues at the annual Sun Belt Dribble Drive! Each Child who participates gets a FREE t-shirt, FREE basketball AND 2 FREE TICKETS to the men’s semifinal games for 3:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. that day! Registration begins at 1:00 p.m. and the action kicks off at 2:00 p.m. with all kids who register dribbling into the arena!