If there’s one thing that officially says “summer in Spokane” to me, it’s Hoopfest. Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world and will be held in Spokane this year from June 29-30, 2019. This year, it’s Hoopfest’s 30th anniversary – you won’t want to miss it!
Walking through Hoopfest is surreal – everyone is hyperfocused on the game, the score, the players. You smell sunscreen, see tons of water and Gatorade everywhere, and everyone’s got a smile on their face (for the most part, even if people lose!). Hoopfest is competitve, but also fun. It’s good for adults as well as kids, and there’s plenty of entertainment for everyone. Sit in on one game, or stroll through half a dozen.
Hoopfest is summer in Spokane. If you’ve never experienced it before, we’ll walk you through what is Hoopfest, what you should know if you go to Hoopfest, and how you can best experience Hoopfest for yourself!
What is Hoopfest?
Hoopfest is the biggest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, attracting more than 250,000 players and fans from all over the world. Held in the last weekend of June (June 29 and 30, 2019), roughly 6,200 teams “play 14,000 games across 42 blocks in downtown Spokane.” There are more than 3,000 volunteers at Hoopfest, attending to 450 courts spanning 45 city blocks. Hoopfest is a big deal!
The best part about Hoopfest is that anyone, of any skill, can play. Teams are made up of four players, with three players on the court at each time. Each team is guaranteed three games and every participant gets a Hoopfest Player t-shirt. It’s no surprise that many people covet these t-shirts – I knew people who had played Hoopfest since they were little and tried to collect a shirt every year!
Check out this video Visit Spokane put together to understand what Hoopfest will be like in 2019:
Is it Free to Attend Hoopfest?
Yes, Hoopfest is 100% free to attend! It does cost money to be a Hoopfest competitor, and some events (like the shooting competitions) cost money, but Hoopfest is free to attend.
Is There Anything Happening Before Hoopfest?
New for this year, Numerica (a local credit union serving central and eastern Washington and northern Idaho) is putting on the Cash Dash!
The Cash Dash is a scavenger hunt running from Monday, June 24 to Saturday, June 29. There will be 40 mini-basketballs hidden all around Spokane (and surrounding areas). If you find one of these mini-basketballs, bring it to the Numerica Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park at 2 pm on Saturday, June 29. You can win cash anywhere from $10 to $2,500!
For more information on the Hoopfest Cash Dash and rules, visit the Numerica Hoopfest Cash Dash page here.
What Else is Going on During Hoopfest?
Not into basketball? That’s okay – Hoopfest also hosts an outdoor festival with shopping, food and entertainment. You can follow along with all the Hoopfest fun on social media with the hashtag #Hoopfest2019.
In addition to Hoopfest and the outdoor festival, you’ll also find the following. These events are free to watch but cost money to participate.
- The Nike Store – the official sponsor of Spokane Hoopfest, the Nike Store will feature exclusive Hoopfest gear you can’t get anywhere else
- The Toyota Shoot Off – You don’t have to play at Hoopfest to shoot baskets! Try your luck at the Toyota Shoot Off contest. Contestants must be 18 years old to participate.
- Youth Free Throw Contest – This contest is open to contestants under 17 and lets them show off their free throws.
- Three Point Contest – Show off your skills at the biggest basketball event on the planet with the 3 point contest!
- Slam Dunk Competition – Whether you’re a participant or a viewer, the slam dunk competition is one of the most exciting events at Hoopfest (beyond Hoopfest, of course!).
Where and When is Hoopfest in 2019?
Hoopfest 2019 will be held from June 29-30, 2019 in downtown Spokane. Hoopfest will take place on 42 city blocks downtown, so be prepared for a lot of detours and closed roads. You may want to consider taking an Uber, Lyft, carpooling or taking public transit to get downtown to enjoy the festivities.
Where Should I Park to Attend Hoopfest?
Parking to attend Hoopfest will be a challenge this year! With all the growth and construction occurring in and around downtown Spokane, it will be tough to find parking for participants, let alone spectators. Plan on heading down to Hoopfest early to get a parking spot, and be prepared to pay to park downtown ($12 per day).
You should still head over to Hoopfest early, but luckily STA (Spokane Transit Authority) will be providing free parking, a free shuttle to take you from your parking spot to the Hoopfest action – plus, STA is offering a $2 Hoopfest day pass! You can learn more about Hoopfest here.
What’s the Best Way to Experience Hoopfest?
There are a few good ways to experience Hoopfest, including volunteering, attending and watching the event, and of course eating!
Volunteering at Hoopfest
One of the best ways to experience Hoopfest as a new Spokane resident is to volunteer! If you’re not playing in Hoopfest, volunteering will get you up front and center to enjoy everything Hoopfest-related. Hoopfest still has a list of volunteer positions open, including Hoopfest Court Monitor – the best way to see the Hoopfest action!
You can also support Hoopfest and the Ignite Basketball Association (an outreach program focused on providing safe, constructive alternatives for Spokane youth) by drinking! Yup, drinking! No-Li Brewhouse is partnering with Hoopfest to raise $12,000 for Ignite Basketball Association. You can help support the fundraising effort by purchasing a pint of No-Li’s Red, White and No-Li pale ale at the No-Li pub.
Hoopfest can be crowded, sweaty, hot, and time-consuming to navigate. However, much like Bloomsday, it’s worth it to experience Hoopfest at least once for yourself! Many people attend Hoopfest from all over the world, so you won’t be the only person new to the experience.
Plus, the weather during Hoopfest is typically gorgeous – expect temps around 75 degrees!
Eating & Drinking Around Hoopfest
One of our favorite ways to experience Hoopfest? Eating, of course! Depending on where you are, you have a lot of delicious options. Here are our recommendations (map below to help you out!). Two of our strongest recommendations to visit while attending Hoopfest?
- Stop at My Fresh Basket to pick up delicious sandwiches, snacks and plenty of WATER before you head to Hoopfest!
- Ice cream at Sweet Peaks (downtown Spokane) – trust us, you’ll want it after a long day at Hoopfest!
I Can’t Attend #Hoopfest2019 – When Will it Be Held Again?
Hoopfest dates for 2020 and 2021 have already been announced, so mark your calendars!
- #Hoopfest2020 will be held from August 22-23, 2020
- #Hoopfest2021 will be held from June 26-27, 2021
Are you excited for Hoopfest 2019? We are! You can check out the design for the Hoopfest game ball here and let us know – will you be attending Hoopfest this year? Share your answer with us on Facebook!