The CIAA tournament is as much about the parties as it is about the hard court, as thousands of alumni from historically black colleges and universities gather for an informal reunion. Here are some of the most anticipated events tied to the tourney. (See the full list of events at www.cltcentral.com.)
CIAA Toyota Fan Fest at Charlotte Convention Center (501 S. College St): Highlights will include family fun, celebrity appearances, performances by popular R&B and hip-hop artists, interactive games and health screenings – all free. Entertainment will be provided by The Tom Joyner Morning Show (6 a.m. Friday), Elle Varner (8:30 p.m. Friday), DJ Skillz, Sytonnia Moore and Jeremih (6:30 p.m. Saturday). 5:30 a.m.-10 a.m. and 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-8 p.m. Saturday. Details: theciaa.com/bballtournament/events/fanfest.
Eric Roberson and Bilal at Amos’ Southend (1423 S. Tryon St.): There are two postgame chances to check out prolific R&B singer-songwriter/producer Roberson and go-to collaborator Bilal, who sings numerous hooks on others’ songs. (Roberson attended former CIAA school Howard University, which now competes in the Med-Eastern Athletic Conference.) With Aaron Camper. 8:30 p.m. $29.50-$65. Tickets: www.amossouthend.com.
Party With a Purpose at BLK Steak at The Ritz-Carlton (110 N. College St.): This red-carpet, “dress-to-impress” event is designed to raise awareness in the African-American community in Charlotte about child homelessness, with all proceeds going to A Child’s Place. Music by DJ Mark. Ages 30 and older preferred. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets: www.achildsplace.org.
The Official Day Party Headquarters, Part 1 at NC Music Factory (900 NC Music Factory Blvd.): The Texicali (formerly called Saloon) and The Comedy Zone pulsate with music from four DJs and offer a heated patio plus 40 TVs. Noon-midnight, with celebrity late-night parties 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Tickets: www.talkofthetownent.com.
The Ultimate Day Party at Studio Movie Grill (210 E. Trade St. at the EpiCentre): Featuring The Mighty DJ DR and DJ Skillz. Noon-6 p.m. Tickets: http://ultimatedayparty.eventbee.com.
The Official Day Party Headquarters, Part 2 at NC Music Factory (900 NC Music Factory Blvd.): Rapper Chubb Rock is scheduled to perform; DJ Shakim, DJ Flemingo and DJ Big Cutz will oversee the turntables. Noon-after midnight. Tickets: www.talkofthetownent.com.
CIAA Post Tournament Concert at Charlotte Convention Center (501 S. College St.): Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, one the most influential R&B/soul groups of all time, will headline the show. 10 p.m. Tickets: www.crowntickets.com.
And remember: The CIAA men’s and women’s finals are at Time Warner Cable Arena – 4 p.m. for the women and 7 p.m. for the men. Without the basketball tournament, none of these other events would be possible.