by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Getting There & r & With construction on I-90, give yourself more time than usual to get down to the games. You might want to consider a new route, avoiding the freeway altogether. Or Park and Ride, courtesy of the Spokane Transit Authority. A Hoopfest weekend pass ($2) will get you anywhere STA goes all weekend long. Get your passes and info at Hoopfest check-in. Downtown parking garages have deals on weekend parking passes, too.
Win an FJ Cruiser & r & In true Hoopfest tradition, Toyota is giving away another car during Hoopfest. This time, it's an FJ Cruiser -- the latest incarnation of the Land Cruiser. Stop by the Toyota contest court at the Safeco Skill Zone in the turnout at Riverfront Park at Wall Street. But you better practice your half-court shot, because that's what it takes to win.
Youth Center Court & r & At Hoopfest, kids have their own center court, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Washington. You can catch games between some of the best diaper dandies in the region both days, with the Seattle Seahawks dance team -- the Sea Gals -- performing their routines and signing autographs between games all weekend long.
Nike Tent & r & Along with all the official Hoopfest sportswear available, Nike will have its own tent this year, just south of Center Court, where you can check out the latest swooshy stuff. You might even get picked to be an official gear tester for the entire weekend. The science of shoes demands volunteers.
Wireless Wind-Down & r & Basketball and cell phones go together like peas and carrots, so Verizon is putting together a Wireless Street Lounge on Spokane Falls Blvd. just east of the Carousel. Chill out between games and check out new gadgets and games.
Nike Center Court & r & There's always something happening at Center Court, and Saturday's big event involves slam dunk contests. The women's competition starts at 12:30 pm, followed by the men's. The Seattle Supersonics' Squatch will be on hand during the dunking -- with his little trampoline thingy. On Sunday, it's featured games all through the day, culminating in the championship of the men's elite division at 6 pm. Just in case you can't walk at that point, you can watch it on KXLY-TV from the comfort of your own couch with your ankle wrapped and a cold beer in hand.
Live Music & r & Local bands are bringing their "A" game, too, with shows all weekend, starting at 10 am both days. The stage is at the Clock Tower Meadow. A couple highlights: Vax Lavala on Saturday at 5 pm and Mylestone on Sunday at 1 pm.
In the Zones & r & Safeco is sponsoring the Skill Zone and Game Zone at Hoopfest, so you can test your abilities. The Skill Zone, at the Riverfront Park turnout near Wall Street, features more hoopin', with a last-second shot contest, a three-point court and a free throw challenge. Up between Center Court and the Clock Tower Meadow, the Game Zone features fun for the younger set, including a giant bouncing castle and slide and more hoop contests.
Play Wisely & r & It's looking like a hot weekend, so drink lots of water, Gatorade or, if you must, Red Bull, you caffeine junkie. Bottom line: stay hydrated. And keep your cool on the court, too. This ain't the NBA Finals, so be a good sport -- and have fun!