Heading To CIAA In Charlotte? Here’s What You Can Expect
By DeAnna Taylor
Since making its home in Charlotte in 2006, the CIAA tournament has grown to become one of the nation’s biggest collegiate events. Each year around this time, students, alumni, and partygoers make their way to the city to partake in the week’s festivities.
2020 not only marks the 75th anniversary of the tournament overall but it is also the last year that it will be held in Charlotte, so you know they’ll go out with a bang.
If you have plans to make your way to Charlotte this week or you’re already in the area and trying to figure out what is happening, here’s what you can expect.
The homecoming of all HBCU homecomings
If you attended an HBCU, then you know our homecoming is like no other. While some may argue that Howard, Norfolk State, or even NC A&T have the best homecomings, CIAA tops them all. This is a time where students and alumni from the 12 schools in the conference come together for a week of reminiscing and friendly rivalry.
The basketball games begin today (Tuesday) and the championship games go down on Saturday.
In addition to the games, there’s a step show where the best fraternity and sorority will be crowned, a cheerleading exhibition, and a high school battle of the bands. If all those things don’t scream HBCU homecoming, then we don’t know what does. To get more information on official tournament information and the game schedule, you can view it here.
Parties on top of parties
If you’ve heard of CIAA in Charlotte, then most likely it was because of all the parties. Technically it is a basketball tournament, but it has also become one of the most talked-about party events as well.
More than 250 events are scheduled to take place across venues all over the city. From getting up close and personal with some of your favorite celebrities or indulging in midnight brunch, to bar crawls and open mics– there will be a party or event for every taste.
To map out which spots you and your crew will hit, you can check out the event list here.
Performances from national recording artists
You can also expect a few heavy hitters to pop up around Charlotte too. This year, tournament officials have locked in a few Grammy-nominated artists to perform at branded events.
During the free Toyota Fan Fest, which takes place Friday and Saturday, Carl Thomas and SWV will perform live for attendees. Again this is a free event, so if you want to see them make sure you arrive early.
During halftime of the semi-finals and championship games, Avant, Musiq Soulchild, and Rapsody will take the stage.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.