After 34 years of hosting the Rotary Clubs of Rochester Holiday Classic and giving more than $1,000,000 to youth-focused non-profit groups and organizations, Rochester Rotarians welcomed teams, friends, family, and fans one last time to the final Rotary Holiday Classic on December 29 and 30, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center. Increasing costs and changes in the high school basketball landscape are among the reasons Rochester Rotarians decided to end the long-running event at the conclusion of this year’s Classic.
It was 1986 when members of the Rotary Clubs of Rochester embarked upon a journey to create a fundraising project that would provide Rochester Rotarians the opportunity to give back to their community while showcasing top high school basketball talent from the area. Two years later, in 1988, the first Rotary Holiday Classic was played with eight boys’ teams. Thirty-four tournaments / showcases later, (the 2020 Holiday Classic was not held due to the pandemic), the Classic continues to fulfill its mission of raising funds for youth-oriented projects in and around Rochester while providing a holiday showcase for area high school basketball teams. At its peak, for three days at the end of December, downtown Rochester was home to 32 boys and girls high school basketball teams, along with their families and fans.
In addition to numerous area non-profits receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from Holiday Classic proceeds, more than $80,000 has also been donated to local high schools to help support their basketball programs. A Rochester Rotary basketball court, located in the Mayo Civic Center’s Auditorium, was also funded.
As Rochester Rotarians celebrate many years of success of the Rotary Holiday Classic, the event also provided an opportunity for club members to fulfill Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” by volunteering and generating more than $1,040,000 for youth-related organizations from the past 33 Holiday Classics. The Holiday Classic’s success over the years is also a credit to the many sponsors and advertisers, participating teams and coaches, and the families and fans who attended and enjoyed watching great basketball.