IT'S ONE OF our favorite weekends of the year, when the Gus Macker basketball tournament comes to downtown Quincy. I am not going to be fair and biased about this - I am employed by Gus Macker in the summers, and for this tournament I'm the event chairman. Basically I keep a lot of the behind the scenes stuff running and make sure the staff (mostly from Michigan) gets it done. They always work hard and they are a blast to be around. It's not that hard, but you have to move and juggle a bunch of stuff at once, and realize you can't make everybody happy.
There are businesses down here that don't like Gus Macker, and I can understand it. The streets around Washington Park, and Maine between Fifth and Sixth, are closed from Friday night to Sunday night. It makes access an issue, and not everybody who comes down here behaves. One good thing this year is that we are not putting any courts by Fifth and Jersey, so it's just around Washington Park and up to Sixth Street on Maine.
But, unlike other events that used to be here, Macker tries its best to clean up and to address troublesome issues. The Quincy Exchange Club runs the tournament from the local level and they do a fantastic job. The Quincy Notre Dame football team provides manpower and helps set up, tear down and clean up. A big welcome to new coach Jack Cornell, who will lead the charge this weekend.
We will be open Saturday and even Sunday for a while, but we know we probably won't do a lot of business. It does bring people down here and we've actually had a lot of people discover that we are at Fifth and Maine, which is a good thing. Memorial Day Weekend probably wouldn't be big saleswise anyway.
If you are looking for stuff this weekend, our advice is to either get here Friday, or if you do come down, just be prepared to deal with a lot of people and park a few blocks away.
Meanwhile, we are ready for Gus, and hopefully we have good weather and a good tournament.