Manhattan Beach is getting ready for this weekend's big event: the Charlie Saikley six-man Volleyball tournament.
It's a two-day festival with amateurs and pros competing side by side. About 120 teams will compete on 32 courts just south of the city's pier. And, it's all part of the International Surf Festival. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the six-man competition.
This tournament was started by Charlie Saikley, who was a Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Supervisor. His son now carries on the family tradition.
"The Surf Fest started as lifeguard games and my father started the six-man tournament as a way for people to be on the beach while they are waiting for longer swims, paddles and competitions to finish," said J Parker Saikley, the founder's son. "It gave something for the spectators to do, so it started the six-man competition."
This year is a tough one financially for the event because the tournament's deficit grew to more than $150,000 as team registration went down significantly. The tournament's costs are usually covered by team registrations. But, since the numbers are down and the cost is not nearly offset by registration fees and sponsorships, the city stepped up to pick up the slack.
"When my father was running the tournament back in the'70's and '80's and '90's, the tournament cost about $40,000 to set up and run. And now, the tournament costs us $240,000," added Saikley.
Despite the hardships, the Manhattan Beach City Council says the show must go on.
"We're committed to having this tournament and we're committed to restoring it back to the way it was," said Councilman Nick Tell to The Daily Breeze.
Watching the competition on the sand is free and most of the community can't wait for the fun to start.
"You get your toes in the sand and it's just something different. It's beautiful out. It's quality," said spectator Brian Lewis.
Tournament play will begin tomorrow morning at 9. The festival will begin at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Hermosa Beach Pier.
For more information, call 310-802-5413 or visit www.surffestival.org