ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Pickleball is taking the city of Athens by storm as Picklefest returns for its second year! The Athens Alabama Pickleball Association is preparing to welcome players and spectators to the Athens Sportplex.
Over the past several years, the low-impact, high-fun sport of pickleball has grown in popularity in North Alabama.
“We had a large adoption about two years ago,” said Picklefest Tournament Chair Jennifer Bridges. “We formed an association, and we’ve grown to almost 300 members.”
The community’s support of the event has culminated in the multi-day tournament. Matches begin at 4:00 p.m. Friday and will continue through Saturday and Sunday.
“We hope for the city that we bring even more players from around the area,” Bridges said. “Again they’ll be coming from Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.”
The tournament will take place at the Athens SportPlex. On Friday, teams pulled down the nets on the tennis courts and replaced them with 36-inch nets, and the lines were redrawn into smaller pickleball courts.
“It’s one of the largest events in North Alabama, and we’re very excited about that,” Bridges said. “We have a great adoption, and again, we want to encourage people from the community to come and get involved and learn more about pickleball.”
On Saturday from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m., the Athens Alabama Pickleball Association will host a downtown social where they will teach the community more about the sport.
Spectators are welcome to watch the matches. They are free and open to the public. Friday matches begin at 4:00 p.m. The mayor will open Saturday’s event at 7:30 a.m., and play will continue on Sunday at noon.