Wichita declares emergency for downtown parties ahead of NCAA tournament

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

As soon as March Madness rolls into town, the party doesn’t have to stop, at least not until 2 a.m.

“Since the tournament was announced that it was coming to Wichita, you know, we pretty much declared a state of emergency at that time,” Pumphouse General Manager, Daron Adelgren said.

The City of Wichita declared a public emergency Tuesday to extend the hours for outdoor events in downtown.

“Since some of the decisions that will be made on the NCAA could be later than that because of the west coast games that will be played and the fact that bars are typically opened until 2, they had asked that we would consider that and we did,” John D’Angelo, City of Wichita Director of Arts and Cultural Services, said.

Previously, community events and activities had to end by 11 p.m. during the week, and midnight on weekends.

The new ordinance allows those events to go on until 2 a.m.

“We need to do that more to compete with the people that are within three hours of us, Oklahoma City, Kansas City. I mean. everybody is just bringing their downtown area to the next level,” Emerson Biggins owner, Luis Lopez said.

This means even more people will be out and about downtown following the NCAA games. Many downtown restaurants and bars were happy to hear the news.

“Anything that brings more people to Wichita or more people to Old Town in general is a positive for us,” Adelgren said.

“By adding two hours to our operation, wow, I’m very, very happy that the City of Wichita came together and thought about having a little bit of fun while having a big event like that here that we’re lucky to get,” Lopez said.

Intrust bank arena will host the first and second rounds of this year's NCAA tournament on March 15th and 17th.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE