The 36th Alabama State Games hit Huntsville this week for the first time since 2004, bringing with it an experience that's as unique as the sports themselves.
"We try to tell all the sports, the coaches, the parents that look, you can play softball every week. There was a 125 team softball tournament last week but they don't have the experience of an opening ceremony - feeling like they're the star." Vice President of External Affairs Anthony Terling said. "That's what we do for them in the opening ceremony and when you see television cameras and boom cameras and t-shirt cannons and all those things and the crowd is watching you most kids, or adults don't get that experience and so that's what sets our event apart."
The event, which runs from Friday-Sunday across the Tennessee Valley brings with it thousands of athletes competing in over 25 sports is open to everyone with a desire to compete and offers spectators an opportunity to see many sports they may not otherwise have the opportunity to take in in person.
"I think a lot of people will be surprised at the level of competition. You look at some of our softball, we have 40 plus softball, they are still going to be rolling in, hey wait until the last second to register," Terling said. "We have some notable athletes in our games. I mean, track athletes - we've had Marlon Humphrey run - I think some of the people are going to be surprised by some of the sports they've never seen like rugby. Some people have never seen baton twirling."
The games' featured event, the opening ceremony begins on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Von Braun Center and like all the sporting events throughout the weekend, is free to attend.