ALBANY, NY; February 22, 2016 - The Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with support from the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, today announced the participating restaurants for the all-new "Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest" on Friday, March 4. The tip-off event will be hosted by Mazzone Hospitality at 90 State Events at the eponymous address from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
The Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest will invite fans to celebrate the return of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men's and Women's Basketball Championships to downtown Albany. A portion of proceeds from the event will jointly benefit the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and the Times Union Hope Fund.
During the pre-game event, fans will have the opportunity to sample gourmet mac-n-cheese dishes from numerous Albany-area restaurants, including: Allie B's Cozy Kitchen; Ama Cocina; Angelo's 677 Prime; The Capital American Eatery & Lounge; The Hollow Bar & Kitchen; Jack's Oyster House; Parish Public House; and Wellington's.
Multiple varietals of craft beer from New York breweries will also be available, including: Adirondack Brewery; Brown's Brewing Co.; Brooklyn Brewery; Captain Lawrence Brewing Company; Ithaca Brewery; Keegan Ales; Lake Placid Brewery; Long Trail Brewing Company; Magic Hat Brewing Company; and Saranac.
Tastings for the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest are $10 for 10 sampling tickets, which can be used in any combination for selections of mac-n-cheese and craft beer. A set of 10 sampling tickets may be purchased in advance and reserved online at www.albany.org for $8, a 20 percent discount on the door price. Capacity for the event will be capped at 800 guests.
The Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest will also feature the Dunkin' Donuts prize wheel, music, face painters and jugglers to entertain fans prior to the Friday evening slate of games. Additionally, schools within the MAAC conference will be at the event with giveaways for fans.
The Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest will add another element of excitement to the popular basketball tournament featuring traditional mid-major schools Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac, Rider, St. Peter's, and Siena College.
Sponsors of the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest include Hannaford Supermarkets, CHA, Dunkin' Donuts, Pioneer Bank, and Gilbane Building Co.
Additional funding to host and promote the MAAC Basketball Tournament was provided from Empire State Development/ I LOVE NY, which was awarded through the Regional Economic Development Council awards.
Times Union Senior Writer and Table Hopping Columnist Steve Barnes will emcee the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest, which will include a People's Choice Award for the restaurant which serves the crowd's favorite mac-n-cheese. The Table Hopping blog and timesunion.com are the title sponsors of the Mac-n-Cheese Bowl, a similar competition, created at the suggestion of a Table Hopping reader that, in its first six years, has raised $200,800 for the food bank. Final numbers won't be available for a couple of weeks, but both the crowd and the total amount raised for the charity event's organizer and beneficiary, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, broke records during the seventh annual event, held on Saturday, February 20 at the Marcelle Athletic Complex at Siena College in Latham.
MAAC Basketball Championship Flex ticket pass holders will each receive five complimentary sampling tickets to the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest. Flex ticket packages feature four tickets redeemable for any open seat, including available seating in the premium lower level, during any session of the MAAC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships, as well as both championship games. The tickets may be utilized for four seats to one session, one seat for four sessions, or any ensuing combination to enable fans to tailor the tournament experience to meet their needs.
Flex ticket holders will have first rights to any seats that have not been sold as part of an all-session pass. Flex ticket packages are available for $150 in-person at the Times Union Center box office, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, and online at www.timesunioncenter-albany.com.
Men's and Women's quarterfinal games will be played over two days at the MAAC Basketball Championships, with Women's games at noon and 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5; and Men's games at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5.
The semifinal round will take place on Sunday, March 6 with the Women's games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and the Men's games at 4:30 and 7 p.m. The Women's championship will be held on Monday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m. The Men will tip-off for the championship trophy on Monday at 7 p.m.