MARCH 4, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 2020 Sunshine State Games calendar debuted on Wednesday, highlighting 40 events from February to November. Now in its 41st year of providing Floridians amateur sports opportunities, the Sunshine State Games is the longest continuously running State Games in the United States.
“Our Olympic-style sporting events and championships throughout Florida give amateur athletes a variety of ways to compete while advocating for an active lifestyle,” said Florida Sports Foundation President & CEO Angela Suggs. “The Olympic dream begins here.”
The Dominoes Championships kicked off the 2020 slate on February 1 as the City of Sunrise Civic Center Ballroom played host to 72 participants, crowning Raymond Thompson, of Palm Bay, as its overall champion.
First on the calendar of Florida’s Olympic-style Sports Festival is the Karate/Katsu Championships in Gainesville at the Exactech Arena on March 8. The championships, in partnerships with USA Karate and the Katsu Challenge, are an official qualifier for the USA Karate National Championship in July. This is the second year that the Challenge has partnered with the Sunshine State Games.
After a two-year absence, Baton Twirling is returning to the Sunshine State Games as twirlers from throughout Florida will compete at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome on the Tallahassee Community College campus. Joining Baton Twirling on the second weekend of March action is Pickleball as the sport makes its debut in SSG at Pear Park in Leesburg.
Two sports, Soccer and Volleyball, wrap up the first complete month of competition. Making its second straight appearance to the SSG slate is the Soccer Championships on March 28-29 in Tallahassee. The two-day tournament partners with the Florida Elite Soccer Academy to host the Florida State Invitational being held at the FSU Rec SportsPlex. The AAU Volleyball Grand Prix makes a return to the Orlando Sports Center for two days of action, hosting the best 6-on-6 squads in the state. The final weekend of March competition closes out with the Ninja Challenge in Pensacola.
Taekwondo is making the move to Winter Haven as the lone event in April on the 2020 calendar. The championship, contested at AdventHealth Fieldhouse & Conference Center in Winter Haven, will feature combat, weapons demonstrations, and board breaking exhibitions.
As the calendar turns to May, eight of the Games’ 40 events will be in action. Judo returns to Boyton Beach on May 2 while Footgolf makes its SSG debut at the Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course in Orlando May 9. Joining Footgolf on the second weekend of May is Artistic Roller Skating and the Ninja Challenge in Orange Park.
As one of marquee events of the yearly games, the 34th Annual Sunshine State Games Figure Skating Championships will be held at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel on May 15-17. The 2020 Figure Skating Championships marks the third time the event will be held in the Pasco County facility after hosting its first such event in 2018. The AdventHealth Center Ice began operations in Wesley Chapel in February 2017 and is the largest ice rink sports complex in the Southeast United States. The state-of-the-art ice arena is a 150,000 square foot, four-rink complex with three National Hockey League (NHL) rinks and one Olympic rink, with the option to convert any NHL rink to dry floor to accommodate basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, and events such as corporate meetings and parties. The facility also includes a wide range of amenities and services including a mini rink.
The Figure Skating event annually draws more than 300 skaters from around the state and has grown from its original 58 skaters in 1986, according to Betty Stark, who has served as the sport director for its duration in the Sunshine State Games.
Also being held the weekend of May 15-17 is the Spring Lacrosse Championships, sponsored by the Orange Bowl, in Plantation.
In traditional fashion, Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer as the Ice Hockey Championships have the Sunshine State Games making its second appearance at the AdventHealth Center Ice in 2020. The four-day tournament fields teams ranging from U8 to U18.
Shortly after, feats of strength will be on display at the Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton Sarasota/Riverfront to close out the month of May as Powerlifting takes the platform on the 30th. To the east, the Basketball competition will take place May 29-31 at the Orlando Sports Center.
June is the busiest month of the year for the Sunshine State Games calendar with 16 sports being contested each weekend in June in 10 different communities. A complete listing of these events are as follows:
Sunshine State Games – Swimming
June 5-7: Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool – Gainesville
Sunshine State Games – Olympic Weightlifting
June 6: Venue TBA – Tallahassee
Sunshine State Games – Manatee/Sarasota County Festival
June 6: BMX: Sarasota BMX Track – Sarasota
June 6: Canoe/Kayak Sprint: Nathan Benderson Park – Sarasota
June 6: Tai Chi: Courtyard Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch – Bradenton
June 6: Rowing: Nathan Benderson Park – Sarasota
June 7: Canoe/Kayak Marathon: Fort Hamer Park – Parrish
Sunshine State Games – Table Tennis
June 6-7: Simpson Park Community Center – Lakeland
Sunshine State Games – Alachua County Festival
June 12-14: Synchronized Swimming: Westside Pool – Gainesville
June 13-14: Fencing: Legacy Park Multipurpose Center – Alachua
June 13-14: Archery: Gator Bowmen Range/Easton-Newberry Archery Center – Gainesville/Newberry
Sunshine State Games – Badminton
June 20-21: Shula’s Athletic Club – Miami
Sunshine State Games – Track & Field
June 20-21: Venue TBA – Tampa
Sunshine State Games – Water Polo
June 26-28: Coral Springs Aquatic Center – Coral Springs
Sunshine State Games – Flag Football
June 27-28: Indian Trails Sports Complex – Palm Coast
June’s Table Tennis Championships in Lakeland will also serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Florida Senior Games presented by Humana.
Visit www.sunshinestategames.com for additional events after the month of June including the SSG Triathlon on August 22, the SSG International Beach Games, to be held at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort on Clearwater Beach September 18-20, a variety of SSG Sport Shooting events statewide held during October and November, and SSG Fall Lacrosse Championships in November.
The Sunshine State Games are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The FSF works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Sunshine State Games, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.
To access a complete calendar of events for the 2020 Sunshine State Games, click here.