When the United States Men’s National Team rolls up to the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State University for the NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament this month, they might take a second look at their calendars. That’s because a group of dedicated, local fans are organizing a welcoming event that will look more like July 4th than May 12 . The "Vol-B-Que”, a patriotic festival for volleyball enthusiasts, is the brainchild of Matt Garthoff, a Long Beach resident and passionate volleyball fan.
“We’re ecstatic the tournament’s taking place in our backyard and want to ensure our men receive a significant home-field advantage,” said Garthoff, whose group ran a similar event last year for a USA World League match. “Team USA is the defending gold medalist and is not yet qualified for the London Games. Now’s the time.”
Tickets to the festival are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets provide general admission to the May 12 finals matches and entrance to the Vol-B-Que, which runs from 1 – 7:30 p.m. Spend the afternoon on the lawns in front of the Pyramid and be treated to an American-style barbeque, music by DJ Roueche, tailgate-style games, face painting, and Team USA player appearances. Beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith has been named the Vol-B-Que’s Grand Marshall. At 8 p.m. the partygoers will file into the 5,000-seat arena to lead the cheers for Team USA.
The NORCECA event runs from May 7–12, with four matches taking place each day. If their FIVB seeds hold, World #6 USA would face #5 Cuba in the finals. The tournament champion receives a berth to this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
Originally published in May 2012