Loss of HoopsFest 2020 Impacts Local Economy

Tyrone's biggest summer event will take a hiatus this year due to coronavirus

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Photo courtesy of The Joshua House

One of the fan favorite events at HoopsFest is the annual slam dumk competition. HoopsFest will not happen this summer due to the coronavirus.

Tyrone’s annual HoopsFest Three-on-Three Street Basketball Tournament is the biggest summer event in Tyrone, normally drawing more than 200 teams from age eight to adults, and thousands of spectators from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Unfortunately, organizers from The Joshua House announced last week that HoopsFest 2020 has been canceled for this summer due to the coronavirus.

HoopsFest is The Joshua Houses’ largest and most important event and fundraiser of the year and its cancelation will greatly affect the organization.

This year was set to be our biggest yet since it was our 20th Anniversary, but we are not discouraged as we will plan to celebrate that next year”

— HoopsFest founder Jim Kilmartin

“HoopsFest is a life-giving event that is good for our community. It is family-friendly, highly competitive, and draws crowds of 3000-5000 people. This has created an economic impact for many businesses and non-profits that participate in the one-day event,” said Joshua House and Hoopsfest founder Jim Kilmartin. “This year was set to be our biggest yet since it was our 20th Anniversary, but we are not discouraged as we will plan to celebrate that next year.”

HoopsFest’s sponsor, The Joshua House, is a faith-based organization founded by Kilmartin that provides arts, athletics, outdoor, and technology programs that teach valuable skills to be successful in life to young people in the community.

Joshua House provides a place where youth can find a sense of belonging, friends, get guidance from mentors, and participate in learning programs that teach valuable life skills and lessons.

Kilmartin founded HoopsFest in 2001 as a small fundraiser and it has grown almost every year since.

“We started with 15 teams and reached up to 256 teams and players from 10 different states,” said Kilmartin.

The tournament is played in the streets and parking lots in downtown Tyrone.

“It has become the largest outdoor three-on-three tournament in Pennsylvania, and possibly the whole east coast,” said Kilmartin.

While the cancelation of HoopsFest is going to hit Joshua House the hardest, it will also impact many other local businesses in downtown Tyrone.

We know how important HoopsFest is to this community and are saddened by the cancellation, although we completely understand that safety is of the utmost importance”

— Shannon Rice, The Brew

Businesses like OIP, Bake Shop Bakes, Gardners Candies, and The Brew Coffee and Tap are usually very busy during HoopsFest, serving the players, fans, and townspeople attending it.

Last summer, the Brew had just opened three weeks prior to HoopsFest and co-owners Shannon Rice and Rob Poust didn’t know what to expect. They were almost overwhelmed with business that day.

They will miss the new faces and the steady stream of foot traffic, but understand the reason for the cancellation.

“We know how important HoopsFest is to this community and are saddened by the cancellation, although we completely understand that safety is of the utmost importance,” said Rice.

Joe DeStadio, president of Gardners Candies, on 10th Street, acknowledges that they do see a higher number of customers on the day of HoopsFest, but the cancellation will not badly impact the business.

At HoopsFest, basketball isn’t the only attraction. Other activities make if a fun event for those not interested in basketball.

“We provide a food vendor area where many non-profits set up and over the years. There is a Kids Zone that has had face painting, bounce houses, dunk tanks, and other activities. There is a halftime event that hosts a $500 shot contest, slam dunk contest, and guest motivational speaker,” said Kilmartin.

Losing the event is a big deal to the town, but Kilmartin hopes that the loss of 2020 will make 2021 the biggest year yet.

“We feel as though HoopsFest helps put Tyrone on everyone’s radar, near and far. Therefore helping everyone’s business and the overall feeling for this town. We hope that this event can return next year and get everyone excited again,” said Kilmartin.