Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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August 3, 2013

First Fridays: Two-day festival kicks off with a sand volleyball tourney

GOSHEN — It was just another night in Goshen.

The Rubber Chickens were competing against the Redskins while the Strawberry Fields played against the One Hit Wonders Friday evening.

Those were some of the sand volleyball teams participating in the Sand Blast Tournament during the Downtown Goshen SandBlast Festival during First Fridays.

The two-day double elimination volleyball tournament will take place on two sand courts in the 200 and 300 blocks of S. Main Street.

It took 277 tons of sand to pull the event off according to Gina Leichty, director of Downtown Goshen Inc.

Leichty also said the event was cancelled for about 15 minutes until the skies cleared early Friday afternoon

There will be competitive level 4-on-4 and recreational level 6-on-6 co-ed tournaments. Brooke Miller and Natalie Evans, juniors at Goshen High School and members of the GHS volleyball team, were waiting to play with the Anytime Fitness 2/Tina Adams team.

“I don’t care about playing in the sand,” said Miller. “I want to get dirty, to get all sandy. It’ll be fun. Of course we’ll win. We used to play (sand volleyball). GHS had a sand volleyball team and played at Pringle Park.”

Evans voiced similar sentiments.

“I’m excited to play,” he said. “It looks like fun.”

She described the difference between playing on sand versus a gym floor.

“It’s so much harder to move in sand,” Evans said. “It’s more fun to dive in the sand rather than on the court.”

In the 200 block of S. Main Street, Constant Spring had a crowd looking out their front window, watching the games.

Diane and Pat DeFreese of Goshen sat on a window ledge of a business across the street and watched as the players became caked in sand.

“I think we’re going to enjoy it,” Diane said. “It’s a neat idea. We like First Fridays and followed (the events) online when we were out of town. I couldn’t wait to get home and watch. We look forward to it every month.”

Her husband said he enjoyed playing volleyball — in his younger days.

“I like volleyball but I’m a little too old to play,” Pat said, laughing. “But one is never to old to watch.”

There were 16 teams registered for the volleyball tournament.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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