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Joshua House’s ‘HoopsFest 2008’ looks to be bigger and better than ever

It’s deemed the biggest three on three street basketball tournament in central Pennsylvania, and this year Joshua House’s “HoopsFest 2008” will not be any different.
The tournament is in its eighth year in Tyrone, and it provides competitive and recreational basketball for kids as young as eight and nine years old to players 60 years of age and older. It’s truly a unique tournament that takes over the downtown area for the day, requiring a section of the borough to be blocked off from traffic.
HoopsFest 2008 will be held Saturday, July 19 with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Tyrone Armory. There are 35 teams already registered, but up to 55 teams are expected to participate. Game play begins at 10 a.m. and a lunch break is held at noon, shortly followed by a dunk and three point contest, foul shot contest for the kids, and the ever popular $500 shot contest.
Judging this year’s dunk contest will be an array of local “celebrities” that include ABCD Corporation CEO and President Marty Marasco, Tyrone Golden Eagle Head Football Coach John Franco, Tyrone Mayor Jim Kilmartin, and The Daily Herald’s staff writer Kris Yaniello.
The tournament will resume play around 1:30 p.m. and the day will end with a concert and movie showing held by Emanuel Baptist Church in the M&T Bank parking lot, beginning at 7 p.m.
HoopsFest has become a great community event due to the large contributions and partnerships from local organizations and businesses. Of the some 80 sponsors, G&R Excavating & Demolition and The Family Clothesline are the corporate sponsors for the event.
Other individuals, businesses, and organizations that are involved as vendors and sponsors include: Beverly Forshey and Dan Dillon of Bellwood; REV FM; Reliance Bank doing a fundraiser for Relay for Life; Tyrone Armory and the Family Readiness Group raffling off a signed Joe Paterno football; Pizza Hut; Tyrone Rotary selling chicken barbecue dinners; Tyrone Community Players; Joshua House Juniors holding children’s games throughout the day; and the Tyrone Elks holding a kids hoop shoot.
Joshua House founder and director Jim Kilmartin is pleased that HoopsFest has turned into a community-wide event that benefits community organizations. He said there is something for everyone at HoopsFest; basketball is simply the event’s draw and what it is based around.
“There will be plenty of food and different activities for the kids,” said Kilmartin. “Tyrone Rotary is also having a ‘Bounce House,’ and other children’s activities such as face painting and bean bag and ladder tosses will also be held.”
As for the basketball, there will be plenty of dribbling going on throughout the day. HoopsFest provides an atmosphere for the ultra-competitive and recreational player. Every year the tournament grows in numbers and players as far as the state of Washington to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and New York have come to Tyrone to compete in the fun and positive environment.
“One of the great things about HoopsFest is that it showcases Tyrone,” stated Kilmartin. “It’s something that draws people from all over to be a part of this – there aren’t too many things like this around the whole area. It’s showcasing what our little community is all about.”
Kilmartin said that the sponsors are responsible for making what HoopsFest is today. The money that Joshua House makes is being placed into a fundraiser to finish the renovations of the second floor in the Joshua House building on Tenth Street.
“It’s been absolutely great to see the community participate and want to be involved in it in so many different ways,” added Kilmartin. “G&R and The Family Clothesline, well, it shows their dedication to the youth in the community, as it does for all of our sponsors.”
HoopsFest is destined to keep growing because of the many hands that the tournament is held in. Kilmartin wants to see it become a full day activity with a carnival type atmosphere where more kids activities and a crafts fair is mixed in.
“When we started it eight years ago in the M&T Bank parking lot with just a few teams participating, I never expected it to grow until a couple years ago when it started to grow,” said Kilmartin. “I thought this could really get big and be one of those things that puts Tyrone on the map.”
Anyone interested in donating Gatorade for HoopsFest on July 19 or wishes to volunteer or register a team, is asked to call the Joshua House office at 684-2032.