FORT WALTON BEACH — “Fuds” will not be descending upon The Boardwalk this spring.
After exhausting all options, including a potential postponement from the April 22-26 timeline to May 27-31, Emerald Coast Volleyball Week on Okaloosa Island was officially canceled Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were notified this morning that our Board of County Commissioners revoked all event permits and are not accepting applications until further notice,” wrote tournament organizer Mike Minich on Facebook, Minich then detailing all tournament refunds will be processed and hotel accommodations will
“We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. … See you in the fall.”
The five-day, bi-annual tournament was set to celebrate its 31st year with 1,300-plus volleyball players, 2,000 spectators and 300-plus teams. Renowned in the Southeast, the showcase has always attracted a broad scope of talent ranging from Canada to California to the Midwest and Northeast.
But the excitement could not save the showcase from a pandemic that’s ended the NCAA spring campaigns and postponed MLB, NHL, NBA, PGA and pro tennis seasons.
The name for the tournament is derived from Fudpucker’s, an iconic local restaurant with a location in Destin that served as the chief sponsor of the event alongside The Island.
The first tournament was in 1989 and was sponsored chiefly by Abbott Resorts. Fudpucker’s was one of the sponsors, donating beer and gumbo and even putting a team together to play. After the tournament was over, Abbott Realty asked the Fudpucker’s team if they would take it over.
The rest is history. As is the spring showcase. But, as Minich pointed out, sights will shift to the fall portion.