HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- With March Madness in full swing in Hartford, the Capital City opened its doors to basketball fans locally and across the country.
The excitement in the XL Center on Saturday was through the roof as fans witnessed games between Florida State vs. Murray State and then Villanova vs. Purdue.
Pans awaited the games on Pratt Street which became a pre-game bar and restaurant scene.
“This is really exciting that all these restaurants, this whole place closed down and really opened up for the public. It’s great to see. You don’t really get that that often in Hartford,” said Vernon residents, Sinead Coleman told Channel 3.
“It’s great to see all these places packed up.”
Although fans may have rooted for opposing teams, the comradery was alive in the bars and restaurants as people shared the love of the basketball game.
“This is pretty legit. This is great. Great atmosphere. It’s like bowl season in football it’s fantastic,” said Jaron Clinton, who said he flew in to Hartford from Phoenix, Arizona.
“Everyone’s got their colors, the band was rockin.”
From giant sized games, like “Jenga” and “Connect Four,” or trying out a pull-up, there was something for everyone on Pratt Street.
Fans said it’s nice to Hartford get a chance to show off what it has to offer.
“Every time they do a block party here and they do a lot of them during the spring and summer. I’m always here,” said Hartford resident, Jesse Reyes.
“It’s always something new and it’s always different, but it’s always fun.”
Hartford has not hosted a NCAA tournament in more than 20 years. Fans who chatted with Channel 3 said they would like to see more events, like the “big dance” in Hartford.