Now, granted, New Orleans is a city that never sleeps and never stops, but I think we all can admit that 2013 has been one for the record books. From the first days of January with the BCS and Sugar Bowl activities, through the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, not to mention concerts like Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Eric Clapton, we’ve done more in three months than many cities do in a year – and it only keeps on going.
Next up on our hit parade? Our own personal countdown during the mayhem and match-offs of March Madness, the Women’s Final Four on April 7 and 9. Memories of Super Bowl magic have you wishing you had tickets to this NOLA sporting event? Lucky for you, even if you don’t, you can still join in on all the fun, thanks to copious extra activities going on while the NCAA is in town. So with no futher ado, here’s four ways to enjoy the Women’s Final Four in New Orleans without tickets:
1. Tourney Town Fan Festival – Tourney Town is a free fan festival with non-stop excitement for every member of the family, friend group or fun people you randomly encounter on the streets as you make your way over there. Think national recording artists, pep rallies for the teams, autograph sessions and celebrity sightings, plus the chance to win prizes and see some of basketball’s best show off their skills. Oh, and can we mention again for the record that ‘s free?
2. Salute at Mardi Gras World - Fans will pay hundreds of dollars for tickets in the Dome, but here’s your chance to meet the women of the currently winning teams up close for a fraction of the cost. Hang out outside Mardi Gras World for free and watch the grand entrance of the team amidst the only-in-New-Orleans-style entertainment and fanfare, or purchase a limited ticket for only $30 to be one of the few people to see the Salute itself up close and personal.
3. Fan Gatherings – It wouldn’t be a true New Orleans experience without making new friends at our friendly local restaurants and bars. To that end, four NOLA restaurants have adopted the fans of each team that will play, providing a meet-up headquarters for alumni, fans, family and friends to congregate throughout the weekend’s events.
4. Youth Clinics – Do you know someone who has what it takes to be part of the next generation of basketball players, of any and every level? Let them know about the Powerade NCAA Youth Clinics, free community outreach clinics offered by NCAA coaches and student-athletes that will teach the fundamentals of basketball – and the basics of healthy lifestyle, fitness and sportsmanship that must and should go along with it.
And because this is New Orleans, we’ll share a lagniappe fifth way to enjoy the Final Four while the players are in town, one we picked up during our Super Bowl stint just weeks back: when in doubt, if you see a group of extraordinarily tall people walking through your downtown Rouse’s, or kicking back by the streetcar, go ahead and whip out your phone to Tweet your celebrity sighting, because dollars to donuts, you’ve probably just seen a posse of them.