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Photo Courtesy of Southern Conference
Special events surround basketball championships
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 10/20/2016
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The Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale consists of much more than a series of games. It has become an annual rite of spring in Asheville and a true celebration of the community and its youth. The following are special events surrounding the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Championships:
 
Education Days – Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3
The Southern Conference will be hosting local elementary and middle school children from Asheville and the surrounding region for the 11:30 a.m. women’s quarterfinal round game on Thursday, March 2 and the 11 a.m. women’s semifinal round game on Friday, March 3. Approximately 4,000 children are expected to attend games over the two days.
 
Mission Health and Wellness Day  – Friday March 3
The Southern Conference and Mission Health System have formed a successful partnership since the return of the SoCon Basketball Championships to Asheville. Mission Health, Top 15 Health System, is a not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. Friday, March 3 will be focused on important health initiatives. The day will start with Southern Conference mascots providing smiles and laughter to children at the Mission Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Western North Carolina. Mission Children’s Hospital has 130 beds, averages 3,000 patient admissions to its pediatric inpatient units, 4,500 outpatient pediatric surgeries and nearly 14,000 pediatric emergency department visits annually. Each year, approximately 700 ill and premature newborns receive life-saving care in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. At the U.S. Cellular Center, Friday will be Cancer Awareness Day. Information about cancer prevention, screening and treatment will be available to all attendees. The day will also feature special tributes to cancer survivors.
 
Downtown Dribble and KidFest – Saturday, March 4 - REGISTER ONLINE HERE
Pack Square in downtown Asheville will come alive on Saturday morning for the 4th annual Downtown Dribble and the 2nd annual KidsFest. The square will be populated with games and interactives for kids, as well as cheerleaders, bands and mascots. KidsFest will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m., with the start of the Downtown Dribble. Each kid participating in the Downtown Dribble will receive a free t-shirt and basketball and participate in a dribble parade from Pack Square to the front door of the U.S. Cellular Center. Participants in Downtown Dribble will also receive free admission to the men’s quarterfinal session at Noon.
 
Celebrate Asheville Day and JamFest – Sunday, March 5
Celebrate Asheville is the Southern Conference’s way of showing its appreciation for the remarkable community that hosts its Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The day will showcase the accolades and diversity of Asheville and will feature the first ever outdoor tailgate party. JamFest will take place from 2 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. outside the U.S. Cellular Center and will feature local food and beverage vendors and musical performers. More information on this event will be forthcoming.
 
Hometown Heroes Day – Monday, March 6
The final day of competition at SoCon 2017 will honor the people and organizations  that help enrich and keep people safe every day. Members of the military, fire, police, emergency services, charitable organizations, government, education and civil service will be recognized and all in those fields will be afforded an opportunity to witness the Men’s Championship game at 7 p.m. More information on this event will be forthcoming.
 
Hoops Against Hunger (All Tournament)
The Southern Conference is partnering for the third consecutive year with Eblen Charities to participate in Hoops Against Hunger throughout the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Hoops Against Hunger, is an outreach of Eblen Charities, which is a nonprofit organization based in Asheville North Carolina. The initiative brings together the basketball community as well as public, private, and sports organizations to help provide food for children who are dealing with hunger at home. With childhood hunger statistics reporting that one out of five children do not have enough food at home, many times the only meals they receive at school are the only food they will have to eat. Anyone bringing on approved food item will receive $5 off a single session ticket for any session. Efforts in the first two years of this program have helped provide almost 300,000 meals.

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