(Photo: Paul McFadden Jr.)

CIAA Tournament is a hot ticket

Tickets are selling fast as the CIAA tournament heats up in the Queen City; single-game tickets are now on sale.

Tickets include access to individual games and live performances, with ticket revenue supporting student scholarships.

Prices for single session tickets range from $30 to $100, depending on the dates and seats. Courtside tickets are $150 per session for Thursday and Friday, and $250 for Saturday.

To purchase CIAA Tournament tickets, visit CIAAtournament.com, ticketmaster.com, or download the CIAA mobile app download on iTunes or Google Play. For ticket information, you can also contact Spectrum Center, (704) 688-9000.

Games will be hosted at the Spectrum Center from Thursday through Saturday. Earlier games were held at Bojangles Coliseum.

— Christianna Hairston

An eye on traffic and parking

“Please keep in mind that if you are planning to enjoy the CIAA festivities in the Center City, be prepared for traffic delays Thursday through Saturday night,” warns the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Heavy pedestrian and motorist traffic in Uptown Charlotte is expected during daytime and nighttime hours. Traffic on Interstates 77, 277, 85, and 485 can also get backed up.

Parking is free at seven LYNX park and ride locations; look for the P on the LYNX Blue Line map.

Traffic delays in high volume areas may be avoided with a little planning — and by using alternate means of transportation.

• Uber and Lyft are popular ride-sharing companies that will be available all weekend. The type of car service and mileage determine the cost for both companies.

• Uber XL is an inexpensive car service that provides SUVs to accommodate large parties.

During peak hours or busy days, beware of surge pricing from both companies.

• Make use of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). City buses will be running, as well as the Lynx light rail, Gold Rush trolley and street car. For more information on routes and schedules for CATS, visit http://charlottenc.gov/cats/.

Plan to arrive at your destination 1-2 hours early. This is imperative if you are using a car service because of high-traffic volume.

About parking:

It is best to secure parking during the morning hours. Parking prices typically range from $20 and up.

Southland Parking, 221 N. Caldwell St. and 406 E. Trade St., are affordable parking lots located near the Spectrum Center.

— Kyondra Hartnell

Culinary delights travel to the fans

The CIAA caters to not only sports fanatics but to true foodies, with a wide range of food-truck cuisine from Asian, Mexican, traditional American, barbecue, Mediterranean, Southern eats to mouth-watering desserts.

Food trucks can be found in uptown Charlotte around the Spectrum Center and a few blocks away near the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Tin Kitchen features Mexican dishes such as “corn tortilla chips with goat cheese, salsa verde, scallions and sriracha with the option to add BBQ beef brisket, pork carnitas, or chipotle chicken.”

Another food truck, Power Crunch, helps fans stick to nutritious diets. Power Crunch offers protein wafer bars, shakes, energy bars, with many different flavors including triple chocolate crème, wild berry crème, and café mocha, to name a few.

Another great benefit of the food trucks is that they help local businesses gain exposure.

Other local businesses that have been on-hand at past CIAA tournaments include the Roaming Fork and Southern Cake Queen.

Roaming Fork offers a mix of meats and cheeses to smoky perfection. It was rated by Yelp as one of the “2017 Top Places to Eat in Charlotte.”

One of its unique dishes is called the Porky Cheesey. It is cooked for 18 hours and consists of  “smoked pork, 3 cheeses, and BBQ sauce over sourdough bread.”

The Southern Cake Queen was founded in 2008. They offer cupcakes, brownies and a variety of cakes with flavors like Egg Nog, Banana Split, and SCQ Signature Strawberry.

— Delaney-Alexis Coley

Christianna Hairston, of Greensboro, NC, is a junior multimedia journalism major; Kyondra Hartwell, of Fayetteville, NC, is a senior multimedia student; Delanee-Alexis Coley, of Baltimore, is a junior multimedia journalism student.