HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - March Madness got underway at the XL Center in Hartford on Thursday afternoon.

Fans across the nationmade their way to Pratt Street in Hartford and have already begun giving their business to restaurants, shops and other places.

The first two teams to face off were Florida State and Vermont. They'll be followed by Marquette and Murray State.

See the bracket here.

It's the first time the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has held games in Hartford in 20 years.

Fans had a chance to see the teams in action on Wednesday when they practiced at the XL Center.

"I actually bought my husband tickets a while back just knowing that the tournament was going to be here," said Heather Hoffman, a Marquette fan from Avon. "So when we found out it was Marquette, we were very excited."

"I'm going to root for Vermont because they're the local New England team," said Paul Wendrychowicz, a UConn fan from Wethersfield. "Somebody that I'm familiar with would be the University of Vermont."

The City of Hartford itself has prepared for the tournament.

It posted parking bans along Pratt Street.

Some bars and restaurants are offering specials.

"We had a great crowd [Tuesday] night, there's a lot of people in town," said Johnny Vaughan of Vaughan's Public House. "We had a lot of people for dinner. Just coming into work [Wednesday] morning, it was great to see so many feet on the street."

"There's definitely an increase in volume downtown, and we had a few people here [Tuesday] from Florida State," said Shaun Valedaserra of Dish Bar & Grill. "[You] can definitely tell there's a buzz in and around downtown."

Pratt Street then shut down for a block party on Thursday.

The area turned into a pop-up brew pub, where people were able to hang outside and drink. 

"It's just nice to see a lot of people. We walked up, we haven't seen Hartford like this in a while," said Johnathon Vaillancourt. 

Pratt Street will stay open until 8 p.m. on Thursday. 

For more information, click here

Games started at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, with some of them being shown on Channel 3. 

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