TAVARES — After its first year of sun and fun, drawing thousands of athletes and spectators to Lake County, the Hickory Point Beach sand volleyball complex managed by the Florida Region of USA Volleyball is celebrating its anniversary on July 5.
“The Hickory Point Beach sand volleyball complex makes Lake County home to the biggest volleyball complex in the state,” said Robert Chandler, Lake County’s Economic Growth Director.
“We are now a major player in what is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular sports, and the Florida Region continues to attract thousands of sports tourists to our area.”
The construction of the venue was made possible through a partnership between the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, the Florida Region of USA Volleyball and the Lake County Water Authority. The county designated around $400,000 in tourist development tax dollars for the complex’s construction.
“Lake County has been instrumental in the growth of Hickory Point Beach by offering a multitude of support from the very beginning of this project and we are excited about the future,” said Steve Bishop, executive director for the Florida Region.
The Hickory Point Recreational Complex, which includes the Hickory Point Beach sand volleyball courts, features professional nets, lighting, top-grade sand, restrooms, free onsite parking, a children’s playground, outdoor showers, nature trail, swimming area, BBQ grills, and a free boat ramp with dock access. Over the past year, improvements made to Hickory Point include a new sunshade over the shower area and permanent picnic tables.
“Events held at the complex this year have grown in both adults and juniors divisions,” said Bishop. “We have teams and athletes from states such as California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois and Wisconsin, just to name a few, that have heard about Hickory Point Beach and have traveled to play in one of our tournaments.”
Bishop says 2015 has been a tremendous year for sand volleyball in general, and that its recent addition as a Division I, II and III college championship sport helped contribute to its growth, especially among high school-aged athletes.
“One of our biggest accomplishments was the creation of the first statewide High School Sand Volleyball League,” said Bishop. “We’ve had more than 45 schools participate from around the state and we expect this number to grow rapidly due to the addition of NCAA sand programs.”
In the fall, the North, Central American and Caribbean (NORCECA) Continental Tour stop will be the most notable tournament at the complex to date, with 32 international teams descending on Lake County from Sept. 9 – 13. The U.S. National Beach Championships will coincide with this event, offering volleyball fans an opportunity to watch elite, high-level volleyball.
A video documenting Hickory Point Beach’s first year is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbz4kznRwo. For more information on the Hickory Point Beach sand volleyball complex, located at 27341 State Road 19, Tavares, and for a list of upcoming events, visit www.floridavolleyball.org. To learn more about why Lake County is the ideal location for sporting events, visit www.SportsInLakeFL.com or contact the Lake County Economic Development & Tourism Division at 352-742-3918.