NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — NCAA March Madness is knocking on the doorstep, and Noblesville can’t wait to let the tournament walk right in. In fact, they are laying out the red carpet by announcing plans for a “Hoops at the Hill” event downtown.
“We want a chance to highlight our great parks system, and our great downtown,” explained Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen.
Festivities start on March 6 with a Fan Jam Car parade from noon to 2 p.m., before hitting a big watch party on March 20. The party will take place on Federal Hill Commons from noon to 8 p.m. and will feature a massive screen as well as food trucks and outdoor games.
The promotion is not only to give fans a place to enjoy the games but to also bring an economic boost to downtown. The city is giving away $10,000 in $25 dollar gift cards to downtown bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
“Downtown, and at Federal Hill Commons, there will be QR codes where you’re downtown patronizing our city. You can scan that code, you’ll go on, sign up, and you’ll be entered to win those gift cards which will be mailed to your house,” detailed Mayor Jensen.
Moonshot Games is one of the locations participating. There will be $500 in gift cards to the card and game shop. Pre-pandemic, they would have roughly 70 people at their store for card and game competitions every Friday night. Due to COVID concerns, that has been shut down.
Luckily, stay at home orders gave way to a rise in board game sales, which has helped keep them afloat. Moonshot Games owner Jayson Manship is working with the city to bring games to Federal Hill Commons during the watch party.
“We got some American Ninja Warrior ropes courses in stock, where you can do slack line type things,” explained Manship. “We are ready to get back to normal, and we are doing everything we can to get to do that in a safe space.”
Events on the Commons will include sanitization stations and socially distant fire pit pods. City officials are excited to have folks back downtown, but they urge anyone who doesn’t feel well to stay at home.