COLUMBIA FALLS — The annual Columbia Falls 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is back after not taking place last year. This event helps promote local businesses in Columbia Falls and Kalispell.
"The goal is mainly is to get our youth and adults out active in the summer and bringing people to Columbia Falls," said Laura Gadwa, Executive Director for the Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us to get our youth involved to get our different businesses involved and have them all come together and to really be able to spotlight show off what a great community Columbia Falls is," added tournament volunteer Dulcie Berube.
This tournament, which will be held Saturday, July 31, also has a significant impact on the local business community through various sponsors.
"Businesses can sponsor the tournament. There's different tiers that they can sponsor," Gadwa said. "Then we also bring in a lot of people who stay overnight so a lot of people are lodging locally and they eat out or they shop local."
"I am from here and grew up here and was actually a really great opportunity for me to contribute again to the Columbia Falls community, and to give back and volunteer my time for it," Berube added.
Historically this tournament has always taken place during the local Heritage Days Festival, but this year that will be different.
"This year we are switching it to the Saturday after Heritage Days to try to spread out some of the events," Gadwa said.
However, this will not be affecting the competition you will see on the court.
"Every year you have some of the little rivalries, you have some teams that have played every year and jostled for the top position," Berube said. "So you get to see those guys coming back year after year. We have a lot of great out-of-town folks who come specifically for this tournament."
This year is different from years past because of how excited everyone is to see each other after the 3-on-3 tournament was canceled last year.
"Actually being able to be around each other, getting out on the streets, and it is supposed to be fantastic weather, just seeing everyone again would be great," Gadwa said.
"Last year was really strange to not have this event, it's kind of a build up for us. We started in April, the planning process of it ,so felt like something was missing all year last year," added Berube.
The organizers are still looking for players to register and volunteers to referee. Registration ends July 21.