A natural result of the change in nature’s seasons is a change in the sports seasons as well. As you may have noticed, most of the multi-purpose outdoor facilities have traded in their bases and outfield fences for soccer goals. In the Wenatchee Valley, that will be most noticeable with the Apple Cup Soccer tournament October 10 & 11 that generally features some 100 boys and girls teams ranging in age from 6 thru 18. Approximately 20 fields at several locations will be in use, generating well over ¼ million dollars in sports tourism spending. Definitely one of the highlights of the fall sports scene here.This year, there is a major change to the facilities landscape. The renovation of the Apple Bowl is nearly complete and games are already being played on the brand new turf that is designed to withstand years of usage every day. In the past, the field had to stand idle more often than not, as the natural grass needed time to recuperate from football games and soccer matches. Now you’ll find sporting events on a regular basis not only for the high schoolers, but all the way down to middle school. How cool is that? Giving the younger age set a chance to play their games in a real stadium, with actual stands, a full functioning scoreboard, and even lights if needed. The new turf has been striped for football, soccer and lacrosse. And the Wenatchee School District is encouraging non-school (general public) teams and leagues to rent the facility, making it truly a community asset. Congratulations to the School District for stepping up and getting the job done. This difficult, but long overdue step will not only be tremendous for local players and fans, but also opens the door for attracting additional events here that can only be a positive for businesses looking to ring their cash registers through sports tourism spending.There’s more good news happening too. Recreation Park, due to a sizable private donation, has new infield turf in, and there are other plans for major improvements and additions to one of the truly iconic sports venues in the Wenatchee Valley. Sure is nice to see two of our most historical athletic facilities getting some much-needed upgrades, especially when kids, business and the community in general all benefit.Matt Kearny is coordinator of sports tourism for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 509-662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org

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