There’s been a flurry of activity around Intrust Bank Arena recently, but one addition in particular stands out.
As the arena has been busily preparing for the arrival of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament next week, a 6,000-square-foot glass-walled tent has sprung up west of the arena, off Emporia Street.
Downtown drivers who’ve noticed have questions:
What is it, and how do I get inside?
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The tent is the work of Brick + Mortar Venue, an event center that opened at 229 S. Emporia in 2016 – and it will perhaps be the most lavish NCAA tournament party around.
Inside, there will be a 30-foot bar, more than 10 large-screen televisions, an LED video wall and a stage to host concerts and pep rallies.
Just outside, there will be fire pits and more bars.
Brandy Zogleman, who owns Brick + Mortar with her husband Jesse, said it’s the first glass tent she’s seen in Wichita.
“You’ll see them in larger cities – Dallas, Seattle,” she said. “A lot of times in the downtown metro area, you’ll see a structured tent that’s used for community events and things like that.”
The Zoglemans spent two weeks in China last summer designing the tent with manufacturers there, she said.
“We went all over the entire country … sitting down with our designers and teams at the factories, coming up with our vision of what we wanted to do,” she said. “We had a great time.”
The NCAA tournament will be the official debut of the tent, which is hosting “Battle of the Brackets,” a multiple-day fan party during the tournament. During that event, there will be concerts, DJs, dueling pianos and more unique entertainment, she said.
There will also be food and multiple beer stations.
After the tournament’s over, the party will continue at the glass tent – which will be the site of future events at Brick + Mortar and also be available to rent, Zogleman said.
When it's not in use, it will be stored in a 30,000-square-foot warehouse.
It took 12 men “with some heavy equipment” two full days to set up the octagonal tent as it stands now, Zogleman said. The shape of the tent is completely customizable, she said.
“It’s not just (for) the tournament, although that kind of pulled the trigger a lot earlier than our initial business plan,” she said.
The festivities start at 11 a.m. Sunday, when the tent opens for its “Sunday FUNday Selection Party.” It’s free to attend, but limited to space available. RSVP online at www.eventsict.com.
The tent will then reopen during the following hours for the NCAA tournament:
- 5 p.m.-midnight Wed.
- 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Thurs. and Fri.
- 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Sat.
Admission is free most times, except from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri. and 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Sat., when it’s playing host to fundraiser events for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the Miss Kansas Organization.
Admission to the Friday night country concert is $25 at the door and admission to the Saturday-morning Irish Fest is $12 for adults, $10 for children 10 and under.
Zogleman said she’s optimistic she’ll have “a packed house” at her 28,000-square-foot property throughout the tournament.
“There’s a great basketball following in the Wichita community,” she said. “I think that there will be plenty to do all around the arena and Old Town. … We’ve provided entertainment for every day.
“We are definitely optimistic for a good crowd.”