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CIAA festivities kick off Friday

The number of teams in the running for CIAA Tournament championships is down to eight, but the special events accompanying the basketball will increase.

The Toyota Fan Experience opens a three-day run at the Charlotte Convention Center, and a nationally syndicated radio show will air live from the same venue Friday morning. In addition, the first of two step show competitions is scheduled for Friday at the Grady Cole Center.

That doesn’t include the non-official parties and concerts scheduled across the Charlotte region for the tens of thousands of visitors in town for the tournament.

Oh, yes – there also will be some basketball. The two women’s semifinal games take place Friday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Arena, and the men’s semifinal contests are in the evening.

Charlotte Area Transit System said it will run its Gold Rush Red Line from 6:30 a.m. to midnight. That service, stretching from the Johnson C. Smith University campus on the west to the McDowell Street-3rd Street intersection on the east, is free for riders.

Charlotte Department of Transportation officials cautioned motorists that traffic likely will be very heavy Friday and Saturday nights in the uptown area. Visitors are encouraged to use mass transit, and to be careful with a large number of pedestrians out and about.

The Friday CIAA schedule:

• Yolanda Adams Morning Show: Adams’ show, which is carried nationally on nearly 40 stations, will air from 5:30 a.m.-10 a.m. and will emanate from the Charlotte Convention Center. The public is welcome to attend. Adams’ program is carried in Charlotte on WPZS-FM (100.9).

• Food Lion Health and Wellness Symposium: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena’s practice court. Features cooking demonstrations, food and health-related exhibits.

• Toyota CIAA Fan Experience: 5-10 p.m. at the Convention Center. Features food samples, interactive displays, contests, exhibits and live entertainment. Belk Fashion Show at 6:30 p.m., and a concert featuring Lloyd at 9 p.m.

• CIAA McDonald’s Step Show Throwdown: 9 p.m. at Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive. Features step show competition among sororities and fraternities.

• Basketball: Women’s semifinal games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; men’s semifinals at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Time-Warner Cable Arena.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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