Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Your CIAA Week Survival Guide

Beginning Monday, the CIAA Tournament once again takes over uptown for a week of basketball games, parties, history lessons, parties, family reunions, and parties. And more parties.

This is the sixth straight year the CIAA has helped bring everything from rap shows to step shows to dance-till-you-drop gatherings for the “grown and sexy.” But even if you’ve done it before, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all there is to see and do.

Here are five tips for making the most of your tournament week experience, courtesy of Kendrick Adams, who runs (the most comprehensive list of CIAA parties we know of):

1. Go to a day party. The best experience of the tournament week is going to a day party while everyone else is at work. There are plenty to choose from between next Thursday and Saturday, and some are free.

2. Plan your partying. Buy your tickets early for the best events. Paying at the door can be expensive.

3. Stick with well-known promoters and venues. Events advertised as “3rd annual,” “4th annual,” or “5th annual” are good bets. These promoters are most likely experienced with the tournament week and are going to have professional events. New promoters may advertise big-name celebrities or guests that may not show up. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

4. EpiCentre. The EpiCentre will be the party mecca throughout the tournament week. There are tons of events planned at its various bars, restaurants and clubs. Details:

5. Take the train. If you weren’t able to get a room uptown, just hop on the light rail to get to the Convention Center, or Time Warner Cable Arena from South Charlotte. An all-day pass is $5.25, or a weekly pass is $17.50. Details:

6. Go to a game. It’s easy to forget the real purpose of the tournament week. Buy a ticket and go see one of the games. The tournament is what makes everything else possible. Details: