LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky high school basketball world returns to Lexington as teams and fans make the journey for the Sweet 16.
Last year, only five games were played before the Girls tournament was postponed, then canceled due to COVID-19. The Boys' side of the bracket never even tipped off.
There's been a lot of changes inside and outside Rupp Arena since the last time a full state tournament was held in 2019. Streets are torn up across downtown due to construction. From Main Street, you can watch progress on the new Convention Center.
It's exciting for the future of Lexington, but for now this means changes to gameday traffic flow.
"The only entrance to the arena is on the west side of the building, as you're facing the arena coming across the parking lot from High Street, it's on your left," said Carl Hall, the director of arena management.
There's about 2,000 spots available in that parking lot, which Hall says will be enough this week because only 35% capacity is allowed at Rupp Arena.
Once you walk inside, before you go through the metal detectors, you'll be greeted by staff members.
"You're going to go through a healthcare check system where we ask you a couple of questions and do a temperature check," said Hall.
There is a new clear bag policy enforced. The only exception is a small purse.Tickets will be digital only and must be purchased in advance. Another change: every ticket is single-game admission only.
"So when game 1 is over, everybody leaves the buildings, turns around and comes back in for tickets for game 2," said Hall.
If your team goes on a run and you stick around, there's plenty of new things to see. Right past Central Bank Center construction is the new Lex Live entertainment center.
There is also the new complex at City Center, with hundreds of hotel rooms and new restaurants. Outside of downtown, the Distillery District has added new food and beverage options.
If you're looking for an entirely new development, head east on Broadway toward Greyline station.
"Retail, shopping, dining, public market, just a few blocks from downtown," said Wes Hogan, owner of Old North Bar. "We do live music on Friday nights as well. Plenty of food trucks for a little more dining options in the evening as well."
As business owners hope to bounce back, there's no better sign of a rebound in Kentucky then the return of a Bluegrass tradition.
If you’re looking for tickets, there are still some available at Ticketmaster.