JACKSON, Mich. – It’s going to be a busy weekend in Jackson with several big events, all taking place over a three-day period.
The fourth annual Gus Macker Basketball Tournament kicks off Friday night with several tournaments, including the “Heroes” Tournament for law enforcement and first responders, teachers and athletes with disabilities. There will be music at Bucky Harris Park.
There will also be a free throw and three-point contest.
According to co-manager Kyle Liechty, more than 200 teams are registered for the event, with some from Georgia and Texas, up from 171 teams last year.
“One of the cool things about Jackson is always being downtown,” he said. “Compared to being in a parking lot or something farther from restaurants and retail, we are integrated into the heart of the city. Although there is a gap between games, you can stop at a local restaurant, grab a bite to eat and check out retail establishments downtown.
The event takes place on Sunday, rain or shine. On Saturday, the tournament will host the popular slam dunk contest where the winner will take home $1,000. The runner-up receives $500, and new this year is a three-on-three mascot match.
“We’re gonna have Blue from Blue Ox Credit Union, the Macker Man playing, Paws from the Detroit Tigers, Madonna from the Toledo Mud Hens [The Detroit Tigers AAA affiliate]Western Michigan University’s Buster Bronco and right in the middle of Saturday with a nice cool 85 degree heat and humidity playing a bit of three-on-three basketball with the mascots,” Liechty said.
Any remaining money from the event is donated to non-profit groups that support the event.
At Ella Sharp Park, the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee returns this Friday and Saturday. Now in her 39e year, Balloonmeister Steve Sitko says 26 pilots are on deck this year, including some from North Carolina and Florida.
People can look forward to family events like the Kids Kingdom, which has games and prizes, a car show, bands, and helicopter rides.
“We also have an adult beverage tent this year to hang out and enjoy the music and some adult beverages, as well as the beautiful park and food trucks,” Sitko said. “So come and enjoy the spectacular setting and get some balloons off the ground and cheer us on.”
Balloon launches will take place Friday and Saturday morning and evening, weather permitting. They will have an additional ball launch Sunday morning at 7 a.m. The event officially opens Friday at 4 p.m.
Also this weekend, Faster Horses Music Festival returns to Michigan International Speedway. Campers started filling up Thursday and the event officially kicks off Friday. The country music festival is expected to attract 40,000 people for the three-day event. Morgan Wallen, Eric Church and Tim McGraw are just some of the more than a dozen acts to star.
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