Dustbowl Basketball Tournament
The Dustbowl Basketball Tournament has brought high-caliber competition to the Danville, Illinois area for many years. This unique event is sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and draws Division I college players, as well as former and current professional players. The event is held at the David S. Palmer Arena each year on the fourth weekend of July. Over the years the tournament and the events surrounding it have grown, but the Dustbowl continues to foster a community spirit. From the first hot dusty summers with crowds numbering in the hundreds, to today, with crowds in the thousands, the Dustbowl is a unique event in the Midwest, with teams traveling from around the nation to compete.
The original Dustbowl, held in Carver Park, was started in 1973, as a way to bring the community together. The City of Danville's Police-Community Relations Advisors (Dwight A. Lucas and Dorsey Boyd) organized the original tournament. Two years later, when the city disbanded the Police-Community Relations Department, the tournament might have ended. The community responded, however. Sponsors, such as Depke Welding and the First National Bank of Danville stepped up to make the tournament a true community event. Since 1978, East Central Illinois Community Action Agency has organized the tournament with the support of numerous community sponsors. In addition to high-caliber NCAA-Sanctioned basketball, other events now round out the weekend, including a summer youth basketball camp, and a downtown parade, helping promote community spirit and foster goodwill.