About 8,000 people turned out Saturday for the AVP Nissan Series Pro Volleyball Beach Tour at Tempe Town Lake. And it wasn’t just for the world-class volleyball.
"It’s not just about the sport, it’s about the festival," said event spokeswoman Kris Baxter.
In addition to watching volleyball play on eight courts, visitors on Saturday were visiting a volleyball history exhibit, getting henna tattoos, playing computer games at the Xbox tent, and visiting the beer garden and various product displays.
The three-day event concludes today with men’s and women’s semifinals and finals. Teams are competing for a grand prize of $125,000.
Lisa Bruckner, 31 and an avid volleyball fan from Scottsdale, attended Saturday. She said she likes "the players, the sun, the sand and the sport."
Baxter said the event enhances Tempe’s image as being young, active and world class. "This is the fourth event this year that has Olympians at Tempe Town Lake," she said.
The event will bring in about $1.6 million dollars to Tempe, Baxter said. Last year about 20,000 people attended the outdoor festival.
Professional volleyball player Jason Ring, who resides in Venice Beach, Calif., said he was impressed with the setup at Tempe Town Lake.
As for playing volleyball, he said, "It’s one of the true team sports left."
What: AVP Nissan Series Pro Volleyball Beach Tour
Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: Today: 9 a.m., men’s and women’s semifinals; 2 p.m., men’s and women’s finals
Cost: $10, or free with student ID