Five thousand one hundred (5,100) youth volleyball players on 476 teams from across the Northeast are coming to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. this month to compete in the “2020 First to the Finish New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament”. More than 19,000 visitors are expected over two weekends, including the young athletes and thousands of family members, friends, tournament officials, college coaches, fans and spectators.


During the tournament’s first weekend on Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12, organizers will welcome 2,400 athletes (236 teams of 10 to 12 players), ages 12-18, in six age group divisions for girls and four age divisions for boys.


At the larger of the two weekends on the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, from Saturday, January 18 through Monday, January 20, 2,700 athletes (240 teams of female players), ages 16-18, will compete.


“This two-week tournament is an exciting spectator event where families come to cheer on their volleyball playing daughters and sons,” explains Roxann Link, New England Region Junior Commissioner of the New England Region Volleyball Association, Inc. (NERVA) and a volleyball coach at Amherst College. “Since the Northeast has one of the largest concentrations of Collegiate Division II and Division III schools in the nation, with lots of Division I schools here as well, we expect many college recruiting coordinators to come and scout as many athletes as possible.” Players will compete on 28 courts in the Exhibit Halls of the Connecticut Convention Center, with 12 matches per court every day, each lasting no more than one hour.


“This annual tournament kicks the year off with a great economic boost for the Greater Hartford region,” explains Robert Murdock, President of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), the State’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization. “The popular event is expected to generate more than $6.3 Million in revenue over its two weekends as visitors stay in over 39 hotels, dine in local restaurants, shop, and enjoy attractions.” Murdock reports an estimated 2,053 jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by this event, and $430,217 in Connecticut Sales Tax will be generated.


“The New England Winterfest tournament originally was designed to showcase young female volleyball players to college coaches and recruiters from throughout the Northeast,” adds Dave Peixoto, NERVA Commissioner. “Since its establishment in 2010 at the Connecticut Convention Center, it has almost tripled in size and now includes boys who participate on the first of the two weekends. The city of Hartford and its surrounding towns really make our Winterfest players and fans feel welcome. Restaurants extend their hours and customize the menus, the Downtown dash shuttle bus adds hours of operation, and everyone is terrific about accommodating our group. We look forward to 2021 when we again will expand, adding a third weekend!”


“For the tenth year in a row, we welcome the New England Regional Volleyball Association to the Connecticut Convention Center for Winterfest,” says Michael Costelli, General Manager of the Connecticut Convention Center. “Every year, we look forward to the incredible energy the thousands of NERVA athletes, coaches, and spectators bring to Hartford. We are proud to have been the host venue for Winterfest for the past decade and are excited for the years to come.”


Schedule of Weekend #1 Tournament:

  • Saturday, Jan. 11: 7:45 a.m. Opening Serve and National Anthem

  • Saturday, Jan. 11: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tournament Play

  • Sunday, Jan. 12: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tournament Play & Championships


Schedule of Weekend #2 Tournament – Martin Luther King. Jr. Weekend:

  • Friday, Jan. 17: College Showcase at Connecticut Convention Center, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – 200 athletes will participate in practice drills and scrimmage. More than 80 college coaches are expected on-site to watch and evaluate the players’ skills on an individual basis. As part of that event, at 7:15 p.m., parents of volleyball players will attend a Recruiting Seminar where a panel of Division II and III college coaches will tell them what they need to know about college recruitment including calendars, NCAA terms and related topics. Free program is open to all parents of volleyball players – whether their child is in the tournament or not. No reservations are needed.

  • Saturday, Jan. 18: 7:45 a.m. Opening Serve and National Anthem

  • Saturday, Jan. 18 AND Sunday, Jan. 20: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tournament Play

  • Monday, Jan. 20: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tournament Championships



This year, the tournament introduces Scan & Go Assigned Admission via QR Code on electronic devices.

All Admission passes are available On-Line at the CORRECT event).

Admission is for one individual ONLY; No shared passes** Children ages 10 and under admitted for free.

Children MUST be accompanied by a ticketed adult upon exit and entry of venue(s) Athletes gain admission with their Jerseys or Bag Tags.


Weekend # 1: Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12:

Admission will open approximately 10 days before the first date of tournament play and remain open online throughout the event.


Discounted On-Line Pricing -Available On-Line before and during the event at ANY time:

$18 All-Tournament pass; $12 Single Day pass.


On-Site Pricing at the admission stations near event door:

For those who choose not to purchase online before or during the event:

$25 All-Tournament pass,

$15 Single Day pass.


Weekend # 2: Saturday, Jan. 18 through Monday, Jan. 20:

Tickets for Weekend #2 are NOT AVAILABLE for purchase until Monday, Jan. 13 (conclusion of Weekend #1)


Discounted On-Line Pricing - Available On-Line before and during the event at ANY time:

$27 All-Tournament pass,

$15 Single Day pass.


On-Site Pricing at the admission stations near event door:

For those who choose not to purchase online before or during the event:

$35 All-Tournament pass,

$15 Single Day pass.


About the New England Region Volleyball Association (NERVA): The New England Region is one of many Regions in the United States that aid in the governing of the sport of volleyball. Regional Volleyball Associations (RVAs) are member organizations of USA Volleyball (USAV). The RVAs serve as the grassroots function for the USAV and individually and collectively serve as a catalyst for USAV functions. Each Region is independently operated and is led by a Regional Commission. For more information about the First to the Finish New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament, visit


Working in partnership with the state’s businesses, institutions, nonprofit organizations, and their surrounding communities, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB) markets all of the state – convention and meeting venues, hotels and attractions, and sporting venues – as a premier destination for international, national, regional and statewide conferences, conventions and major sports events. The Connecticut Sports Advisory Board, a division of the CTCSB, focuses its efforts on attracting and serving international, national and regional sporting events. Events booked by the CTCSB in the last fiscal year alone are projected to result in: $62,989,859 in spending by convention, meeting and sports events attendees during their visits to the state, generating $4,272,596 in Connecticut taxes. In addition, more than 17,331 Connecticut jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by these events as a result of these bookings.* For more information about the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, visit or call 860-728-6789. (*Destinations International economic calculator FY 2018-19).


The Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford is the state’s premier meeting venue and the largest full-service convention facility between New York and Boston. Overlooking the beautiful Connecticut River, it features 140,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as ample sheltered parking. The venue is professionally managed for the State of Connecticut by Waterford Venue Services, an affiliate of Waterford Hotel Group. For more information, visit or call 860-249-6000.