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Hoopfest adds Friday activities that blend the practical and the tasty

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Some hardcore ballers can consider it carbo-loading for the weekend.

Some casual players might call it a necessary aspect of any semi-athletic activity.

And some on hand to merely spectate will undoubtedly think of it as a brilliant addition to the Hoopfest weekend.

Hopfest at Hoopfest introduces a mini-microbrew festival of Spokane-area suds purveyors to the festivities, and is just one of the new additions this year that's helping stretch a traditional weekend of basketball action into a three-day extravaganza. This year also marks the debut of the Friday Practice Round, a chance for teams to strategize, work on their shots or perhaps shake off some rust on 10 practice courts that will be set up along Post Street and just north of Spokane Falls Boulevard next to City Hall.

For Matt Santangelo, executive director of Spokane Hoopfest, extending the weekend was a natural way to enhance the experience for the thousands of teams and fans descending on the Lilac City.

"When people come to town, they want to get their team together and shoot around," Santangelo told the

Inlander. "We figured we might as well bring those people downtown."

When the Hoopfesters arrive, they'll naturally pack all the hotels, restaurants and bars they typically do and start catching up with friends and foes alike. Santangelo's team hopes that Hops for Hoopfest and the presence of the Friday Practice Round gives visitors a reason to hang together in and around Riverfront Park.

Like the practice courts, Hops for Hoopfest will be open all day for those 21 and older, from 11 am to 7 pm, and will feature a slew of local breweries: Black Label Brewing Company, Iron Goat Brewing Co., No-Li Brewhouse, Orlison Brewing Co., Perry Street Brewing, River City Brewing, Steam Plant Brewing Co. and 12 String Brewing Co.

In addition to the brews, there will be cornhole games in the beer garden — in case battling in the world's biggest 3-on-3 basketball tournament isn't quite enough competition for one weekend — and music supplied by DJs through the day, and the Ryan Larsen Band from 4 to 7 pm.

"Hopefully people hear about [Friday's events] and come in early to be part of everything going on," Santangelo said. ♦

Hopfest at Hoopfest • Fri, June 26, 11 am-7 pm • Post Street across from the Gondola Meadow in Riverfront Park • 21+ • $10 admission includes a cup and two drink tickets; additional drink tickets are $3 each or $5 for two • spokanehoopfest.net

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