Wednesday kicked off the "Big Show" in St. Petersburg. September 11th is the official Draw Day for some 64 players, Pro and Olympic, who are coming to town to play some intense beach volleyball.
The Toasted Monkey Beach Bar and Sports Grill in St. Pete Beach hosted the draw party Wednesday evening.
The Association of Volleyball Professionals' (AVP) East Coast chose St. Pete for a stop during its 2013 national tour. Inspired by the St. Petersburg's waterfront, Vinoy Park was chosen for the event, which will take place September 13th through the 15th.
Raquel Ferreira is a local star, who actually moved to St. Pete recently just to bring the sport of beach volleyball to Tampa Bay.
"I was really, really happy when I heard, I couldn't believe because I decided to make the move and I had no clue they're going to be hosting. And a couple months later I heard and I was like, this is absolutely perfect because that was the reason why I was moving, to bring volleyball to this area, beach volleyball and develop that.
Ferreira says she and her colleagues and competitors are dedicated to the sport -- big time.
"We are very serious, very competitive, it gets crazy there and it's really good action for the fans. And we train really hard for this. This is our lives and it's very exciting. We hope everyone can come and cheer and be part of this big party," she said.
"So let's talk about some of the outfits, because some people just come because you guys are beautiful, you're in-shape, they come to see what you're wearing, or what little bit you're wearing!," we asked he. "Yeah, I know, there are tons of fans, especially the guys, who love to watch the girls action a little more because of the bikinis. I don't know, I've been doing this for a long time. I don't even think about that. I put a bikini on. How many people get to say, hey what are your working clothes? Oh a bikini. I'm not a bartender, I'm a beach volleyball player, it's exciting, it's fun you know?," said Ferreira.
Donald Sun, owner of AVP, announced that local firms Farias Consulting Group and Evolution Music Werks have been selected to produce the event. "We have never been received as well as we were during our site visit to St. Petersburg six weeks ago. This is where we want to come, and these are the groups we want to work with," said Sun. This also is an opportunity for local businesses to participate in sponsorships and to serve as vendors and volunteers for this nationally televised event. "I am so excited that St. Petersburg is hosting this event," said Mario Farias, CEO of Farias Consulting Group. "AVP immediately expressed its desire to collaborate with local firms, and the fact that this event will take place downtown is a great opportunity for our city to shine again in the national eye."
AVP has a prestigious 30-year history of developing the best Volleyball players in the world. This year's tour will include the top players in the United States, including Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and other champions.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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