A new sports festival designed for mature athletes is stirring excitement in Saskatoon.
This week, organizers announced a “homegrown” masters sports festival will debut in the Bridge City this summer.
The co-ed, multi-sport event is already anticipated to bring in people from across Saskatchewan and beyond.
“We took a look at what other cities were doing, both in Canada and the United States, and it just became obvious for us that we needed to get into the masters sports market,” said Hugh Vassos with Saskatoon Sports Tourism.
Vassos said the festival is starting small – with five sports this year – in the hopes of growing it in the future.
It will feature six versus six soccer, Jack & Jill team golf, beach volleyball and the four x 5K Walk/Run Relay.
One of the biggest draws will be pickleball, a racquet sport combining elements from other games such as tennis and badminton.
“It attracts thousands of people in the United States, so we checked out the groups in Saskatchewan playing and it’s growing here too,” he said.
Vassos said many of the masters sports have become popular in Canada after snowbirds travelling south for winter brought the fun back home.
The festival is aimed for people 30 years of age and older; Vassos said that alone plays a big role in the expected success of the event for sports tourism.
“Those people have the propensity to travel, to spend money; they can go any time of year,” he said.
Host sports venues include the SaskTel Sports Centre, Forest Park and Greenbryre Golf and Country Club. The festival site will be the Delta Bessborough Gardens.