Toomer’s Corner in the heart of downtown Auburn, where town and campus meet at the entrance to Auburn University, is known far and wide for its celebrations.
The Tipoff at Toomer’s event held Thursday night, however, was something a bit different and certainly special.
The Auburn men’s and women’s basketball programs held their first-ever Tipoff at Toomer’s event on a temporary court built on the street next to Toomer’s Drugs.
It was a way to officially launch preparations for the 2019-20 seasons, but beyond that it was an excellent demonstration of the town and gown relationship between the university and the city.
It also helped bring life to a downtown that oddly this football season is not hosting a single October home game. Meaning, it was good for business with increased foot traffic and exposure for town merchants who depend on fall crowds to pave the way into the coming holiday season.
The university and the city worked together to shut down the streets and produce an event that benefited both.
“That was amazing. I can’t believe the turnout,” Auburn men’s basketball head coach Bruce Pearl said just after the event, as music sounded out downtown. “It’s just so much fun to celebrate with our friends and our families and our fans — and probably most importantly, I think our players all really enjoyed tonight.”
Pearl and the Auburn basketball team returns after a successful last season and its first trip to the Final Four, another first.
“Our students showed up, and the cool thing about it is, we got great cooperation from Ron Anders, the mayor, the City Council and all the businesspeople down here, the merchants,” Pearl said. “We disrupted traffic all day long, and they were OK with it, because they knew it was going to be an iconic event.”
It seemed true, as the old adage goes, that fun was had by all.