An event never before seen in Norfolk is looking to launch this winter with help from the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau.
David Kassmeier, a Norfolk chiropractor and member of Kelly’s Fastpitch Softball, is looking to start an event for gamers in Norfolk. He made a presentation to the visitors bureau advisory committee Wednesday to ask for financial support.
The event, scheduled for Jan. 3-4, would be an opportunity for players to meet at one location. Attendees would each bring their personal computers and equipment and pay a registration fee, while the venue would provide power, an internet connection and a place for people to play.
A series of tournaments would be scheduled, but beyond that, each person is free to play whatever game whenever they want. The event would last for 26 consecutive hours.
Kassmeier said he does not consider himself a gamer but has seen that gaming is becoming more and more popular, especially among younger people.
“We want to bring technology here and bring more people together through technology,” Kassmeier said. “This is something cool and something different.”
Colleges such as Northeast Community College and Wayne State College have large gaming communities and clubs that could support the event, Kassmeier said.
Kassmeier said that in his experience, gaming events draw large crowds. A convention in Omaha attracted more than 600 participants, and at another in West Point, more than 300 computers were set up.
The inaugural event in Norfolk would be a much smaller scale, with room for 100 computers and 30 consoles. But Kassmeier said the event could grow significantly if it proves to be a success, with biannual events and possibly transitioning to a larger venue such as the Divots Conference Center.
Committee members agreed that the event was a good idea for Norfolk.
“This has a real potential to draw new kinds of people from out of town,” said committee chairman Ron Stauffer.
But while the committee did agree to support through the event, members did not agree with the request for $5,000. The committee ultimately awarded $2,000 for the event. The $2,000 will be paid to Kelly’s, which is organizing the event.
Another presentation for a new event was offered Wednesday. Brooke Drees, representing the Norfolk Family YMCA and Norfolk Soccer Club, asked for $800 for a new soccer tournament.
The YMCA and Norfolk Soccer Club are planning to host a 3-on-3 tournament this November and requested the $800 primarily for marketing and medals for winners.
Traci Jeffrey, director of the visitors bureau, said the tournament would help fill a need for more events in the winter months.
The requested $800 was awarded.