Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time to Hit the Beach, Cincinnati!

Hi, it's Meghan Mongillo. :-) Labor Day weekend in Cincinnati isn't just about fireworks. This weekend you can also see Olympic gold medalists and the best beach volleyball players in the world, up close and personal, at the Pro Beach Volleyball Players Championship.

You may have been to the AVP (Pro Beach Volleyball Tour) before at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. This year there are a couple changes. The annual event is now at a brand new, beach volleyball-specific venue called Hahaha Beach, and it no longer carries the AVP name. Tournament organizer Mario Cincchinelli says when the AVP folded recently he immediately contacted and signed the top 16 men and women for this year's tournament - not an easy task considering most were overseas playing in Europe. The good news is that all of them will be coming to Cincinnati, including top players like Misty May Treanor, Todd Rogers and Phil Daulhausser. The qualifiers are today – Thursday -- then there are day and night matches Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been out to Hahana Beach and can tell you that it is top notch. The quaint stadium only holds 2,000 fans so there are no bad seats, and the sand on the courts is nice and deep. The site is also home to a new bar and restaurant where surf boards hang from the walls to compliment the tropically themed menu. After the tournament is over the restaurant will be open year round and host local leagues when the weather is nice. So even if you're not a pro, you can still say you play on the same court as them. :-) Here’s how the owners are touting it - Hahana Beach: where the day is hot, the courts are hotter, and the nightlife is hottest!

Hahana Beach is on Wooster Pike in Columbia Township, just west of the Newton Bridge. Parking is limited, but tournament coordinators have rented lots from other businesses for this weekend and they tell me there will be police officers directing traffic.

One more thing – tickets prices start at just $10!

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