There’s going to be a true “Magical” weekend at the “New” St. Pete Cancha. Yes, Walt Disney World is only 83 miles to the east. And yes, Magic Mike’s Computer Repair Store is just 1 mile to the west, but it’s going to be a different kind of magical weekend. While Magic Mike will be there with his “Jack Patterson” talking scoreboard, about half the Magic City roster (perhaps more) are expected to be in town to play on the newly renovated and enlarged St. Pete Cancha – America’s first and only city jai-alai court.
It’s a whole new court now and with St. Pete alum and current Magic City player Kyle Kubala arranging things along with permission from Stu Neiman (who might be coming too), this event is shaping up to be the biggest event ever held jai-alai wise on the west coast of Florida. About 25 local players, including former pros Daniel and Corky are signed up to play joining another 10 or so players from Magic City. Chris Bueno will be there and most likely so will be his father Benny, who recently was seen on NBC News with the closing of Dania jai-alai (see previous story for link to the story).
Former St. Pete mayor and the man that got the cancha approved by the city council in 2007, Bill Foster will also be in attendance.
This actual event was set up several months ago, but put on ice and organizers crossed their fingers with the progress of the renovation of the court. In these times of COVID, any construction job that involves a lot of materials and labor like this one is subject to delays. Work has been going on since the day after Father’s Day – 26 weeks ago – or half a year! The wait may be worth it as several games have been played to test playing conditions, net placing and line placement on the court. It was just resurfaced and now only the stripping needs to be done, which should be happening any moment. The court is expected to be open again by Thursday, December 9th. Just in time for our big event! The court is actually not completed yet– an entrance door needs to be completed and perhaps a few other things like tinkering with the ceiling net, etc.
The event this weekend is only an exhibition. It is not an actual tournament. There is no money being exchanged, no trophies, no nothing. It’s just for fun. Saturday is open play with no set time set. Sunday, the event will begin at 11am and is expected to last up to 4 hours given the numbers of players we have. Bring your own food and drinks, Busters Courtside Grill will not be open. The event should end in time for those that want to watch the Bucs-Bill game starting at 4:25pm just across the pond in Tampa. A win by the Bucs will give them the divisional title.
Donations will be accepted from anyone in attendance willing to help keep our public court and the great sport of jai-alai alive! Please help out. The court is amazing and will be around for a long time to enjoy free of charge.