PHOENIX - When it comes to advancing the appeal of Phoenix for residents and the surrounding area, Phoenix Rising is always seeking ways to both enhance and serve community needs.

As they have done for the past couple of years, Phoenix Rising is flying high to get the season going, planning another local “Kickoff to Summer” with their Third Annual “Flip Flops and Firebirds” community day on Saturday, July 13, and invites people of all ages to come join in on the fun!

Known for adding new events and festivals designed to coordinate networks in support of community residents and vision, the Phoenix Rising event “Flip Flops and Firebirds” started just a few years ago. The event transforms the asphalt parking lots downtown to a sand-beach environment and full volleyball court, by literally bringing in tons of sand. Teams sign up to be a part of volleyball and cornhole tournaments, vendors, artists and sponsors serve up entertainment and food … making Flip Flops and Firebirds a favorite that last year brought in over 2,000 people.

A main focus of the event is the team beach-volleyball tournament. Not only are friends and families encouraged to sign up as a team, but people are encouraged to come out and watch the parking lot transformation in the morning, if they wish, before the tournament starts. Stadium-quality bleachers will be set up alongside the beach-volleyball court, for spectators and those cheering on favorite teams. Teams must register for the tournament by texting Jim Lynch of Phoenix Rising at 315-575-3316 or visiting and sending a message through Teams can be co-ed, can include both kids and/or adults but must include one female, with a registration cost of $5 per person.

The volleyball tournament winners are vying for a very special trophy, decorated with flip flops, of course! The trophy also includes a volleyball on top, signed by the team and is awarded as a “perpetual trophy” – going to the winning team for a year, to be displayed in their business or wherever they choose, and then brought back to pass on. As additional teams compete for that trophy, trying to take it, with a new winner, the trophy gets topped with a new winning team’s signed volleyball.

The other big tournament is the Cornhole Tournament played as a two on two ‘traditional bean bag’ Cornhole competition with a registration of $10 per two-person team. Additional activities for kids will come through from “Insane Inflatables”. Bike helmets will also be given out free of charge, an opportunity offered through the Tobacco-Free Network.

Musical entertainment will feature a performance by Mime Farrar live, and a DJ all day and evening, on Duskee’s outdoor covered deck. Food, treats and beverages will be offered by Jozeppi’s, Chow Down, Bombadil’s, Phoenix Sports Restaurant, Angry Pig and Suzy’s Shaved Ice, serving everything from sausage sandwiches to hotdogs and hamburgers, cheese steaks, wings, chicken Spiedies and kicking shrimp.

In addition, those attending are invited to walk and visit local community businesses to get the flavor of Phoenix, and sample other diverse food faire. Duskee’s Bar and Grill will offer a “Beer Garden” and other restaurants will be open, serving refreshments as well. The new Lock 1 Distillery’s Tasting Room nearby features its own food and drink variety too. Starting the main events at 1 p.m., it’s likely tournaments and entertainment will span past sunset, with ladder trucks shining down lights for those final winners and applause.

It’s all designed to bring the community together for a little summer fun … just a step in the Phoenix Rising mission of “enhancing our community through small acts of kindness”. By coordinating support from village, fire department, police, businesses and non-profits and working to benefit the community at low or no cost, every event takes a leap towards developing Phoenix as a place to be.

Community friends, families and village residents are invited to enjoy it all – the smells of good food, the sound of great music, cool beverages and the outdoor fun of summer – together! As a ‘day into night fun-filled family event’ – organizers have high hopes that Flip Flops and Firebirds on Saturday, July 13, whether as a competitor or happy spectator, is one more chance for the community to engage, cheer on that kick-off to summer, and celebrate those golden days still ahead.

Jim Lynch and Phoenix Rising volunteers are sure it’s going to be a great time for everyone. “Please sign up and spread the word!” Lynch says.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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