ST. GEORGE – The official start of spring is still over a month away, but already the green grass in St. George is playing host to thousands of young athletes President’s Day weekend for early-season soccer, baseball and softball tournaments.
“Our desert climate and convenient recreational facilities have made us the go-to destination for regional and national sporting events,” said Kevin Lewis, director of sports marketing for the St. George Area Tourism Office. “This weekend, the visiting tournaments will utilize almost every available field in the area.”
Drawing some of the largest crowds this holiday weekend are several soccer tournaments, including 150 teams with the Utah Competitive Soccer’s Ice Breaker Tournament and 80 additional teams competing in the Southern Utah Soccer Association’s Red Rock Invitational.
“The players look forward to coming to St. George every February,” said Kyle Pasley, Region 6 Director for the Utah Youth Soccer Association. “For the players, it’s a chance to size-up the competition; for the parents and siblings, it’s an early spring break.”
The economic impact of the youth tournaments is significant, Pasley added, given the fact that each player is accompanied by parents and siblings who stay at area hotels, eat at restaurants and spend money shopping or on recreational activities.
In addition to the soccer tournaments, visitors are also in St. George to participate in the Desert Spring Softball Championship and the Rocky Mountain School of Baseball’s sizable Presidents’ Day Tournament.
“We have teams participating from eight states—as far away as Minnesota—and they are excited for the sunshine,” Rocky Mountain School of Baseball President Dennis Udy said. “We’ve been coming to St. George for 18 years and can’t ever remember having weather as nice as it is this weekend.”
The baseball tournament includes 140 competition teams—adding up to approximately 1,500 players. The tournament grows to 8,000 visitors to the St. George area when you add in coaches and family members, Udy said.
It’s not just the youth that are getting outdoors and competing over the Presidents Day weekend, St. George is also hosting a pickleball tournament with more than 130 participants.
“This starts the busy season for St. George,” Tourism Office Director Roxie Sherwin said. “Families love the location and easy access to impressive wilderness areas like Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park.”
The area also expects a sizable crowd for the 10-day St. George Area Parade of Homes that runs Feb. 13-22. The self-guided home tour features 28 brand new homes and is projected to attract more than 30,000 people.
About St. George:
St. George offers “everything from A to Zion” for families and adventure seekers. The celebrated area offers easy access to Zion National Park and several dedicated wilderness and recreation areas for hiking, climbing, cycling and trail running. A stroll through the city’s picturesque downtown provides boutique shopping and eclectic dining. For those seeking the neon lights, Las Vegas is only a 90-minute drive away. To easily plan your trip, visit the St. George Everything from A to Zion website: www.visitstgeorge.com.
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