ROCKFORD (WIFR) — The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) will welcome nearly 1,500 people to Rockford in March for the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) state tournament. This is the 11th consecutive year the Rockford Region is hosting the tournament, which takes place on March 7 – 9, 2013 at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The event has committed to return to the downtown arena in 2014, giving Rockford the distinction of serving as the longest-running host of this tournament.
Approximately 900 wrestlers, boys and girls, ages 10-14 will compete in the tournament. The event draws nearly 1,500 athletes, coaches and spectators, who are projected to spend an estimated $350,000 while in town.
“Once again, we’re honored to welcome this high-caliber event to Rockford. The dedication and commitment of the RACVB and BMO Harris Bank Center staff along with our community and industry partners have made it possible to continue bringing IKWF back to Rockford year after year,” said John Groh, RACVB President & CEO. “We look forward to welcoming this great organization and event to Rockford again in 2014.”
During the event, the RACVB helps downtown restaurants and retailers capitalize on the additional foot traffic by providing establishments with signage that draws attention to their door and welcomes the visitors to stop in. The IKWF visitors also receive a downtown map that highlights where restaurants and retailers are located.
Traffic and Parking Advisory
The RACVB is advising downtown businesses and commuters that traffic will be heavy for a brief period the morning of Friday, March 8 as the visitors arrive for the tournament’s opening ceremonies. The RACVB is working in collaboration with the City of Rockford and the BMO Harris Bank Center to direct traffic and minimize delays for both commuters and visitors. Parking will also be impacted by the tournament. Residents should be aware that select City lots will charge $5 for parking on March 8 – 9. These locations include the Pioneer Parking Deck, the Water Street Upper-level Parking Deck and the lot located south of the Hinshaw & Culbertson building, 100 Park Ave.