Welcome to 2018 with the CIAA being one of the first, big urban events that My Party Life would cover! For those that don’t know, here’s a little background information on the CIAA Tournament:
CIAA or Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association is a collegiate athletic conference consisting of HBCU’s affiliated at the Division II level of NCAA. Schools of the conference are primarily located in North Carolina (eight) and Virginia (two) with one school in Maryland another from Pennsylvania. With the majority of schools located in North Carolina, the event moved to Charlotte in August of 2015.
The CIAA sponsors 16 annual championships with the most notable being the tournament that takes place in Charlotte and has become one of the large black college basketball events in the nation.
Day 1: Arrival and party at Vapiano
This was also my first time attending the CIAA Tournament. The event is on my “bucket list” of experiences and from what I researched about the tournament, it fit the demographic of users and members at My Party Life. Traveling to Charlotte was a breeze considering I only had to fly for an hour and a half from Washington DC. I’ve traveled to Charlotte prior to this trip (about six years ago) but so much has changed in that time frame. I always like to arrive on a Thursday just to get a handle on the city, my environment and people. I knew the majority of all events were in “Uptown” (name used by Charlotteans and refers to “Downtown”) near the Epicentre, Convention Center and Spectrum Center so staying close to Uptown is where you want to be for the tournament. Charlotte is not that spread out with everything being central but it’s always a good idea to stay as close to all main events as possible. One of my favorite things about Charlotte is the airport being in close proximity to downtown. Usually you have to drive 30-40 minutes to get to an airport in a traveling city but in Charlotte the airport was 15 minutes away. I grew up in the south and missed the southern hospitality that was shown in the city starting at the airport, then with Lyft drivers, at restaurants – everything!
Official events for the tournament started on Tuesday and that included several games, “Fan Fest” at the convention center and other events to connect the community to the tournament. For CIAA, I wanted to cover a mixture of official events and “unofficial” day parties and nightlife happening throughout Charlotte. CIAA is a very active event bringing in thousands of guests (mainly from the south) that graduated from HBCU’s or just wanted to be in Charlotte to party.
Thursday was spent exploring the city and getting settled into accommodations. Some light shopping, grocery shopping and online work for events and making sure My Party Life members had everything they needed information wise for the tournament! I always like to eat at a nice steak restaurant the first night in a city and I chose The Palm. Very nice environment for a Friday night with a great bartender who was able to give her take on CIAA tournament in Charlotte. I also met several people at the bar who were experiencing CIAA for the first time. Fun vibe at The Palm before the night’s festivities even started! That’s always a good sign for festivities to come that night.
Tonight’s plan was to attend a “day party” that went into the eventing. Promotional group from DC had their 6th Annual CIAA event at Vapiano. Great party with good music and an overall good vibe!
Music – A
Crowd – B
Customer Service – B
Cost $$ – B
Overall party experience – B+