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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    ‘Sneakerheads’ to invade Mohegan Sun convention center Sunday

    Mohegan ― Lace ’em up. Sneakerhead Invasion is nigh.

    The event, set for noon Sunday at Mohegan Sun’s Earth Expo & Convention Center, aims to bring the sneaker culture to the region with up to 200 vendors of sneakers, streetwear and collectibles expected to display their wares.

    Organized by The Urban Collab, a Hartford-based organization, it will feature the latest in Nike, Air Jordan, New Balance, adidas and other well-known brands.

    “The whole concept of Sneaker Invasion is to provide a space where ‘sneakerheads’ can buy, sell and trade sneakers,” said Sheba Williams, of Hartford, who co-founded The Urban Collab with her partner, Samantha. “We try to make it interactive. We’ll have a 360-degree photo booth and we’ll give away 250 T-shirts. … It’s a way to bring the sneaker community together.”

    Williams said such events target individuals seeking “high market” sneakers that are often hard to find because of their extreme popularity. Among sneakerheads, bartering is commonplace.

    Advance ticket sales have outpaced sales for the organization’s event a year ago at the XL Center in Hartford, according to Williams, who said about 1,000 people attended the earlier event, which drew about 100 vendors.

    “We’re hoping to double that,” she said, referring to the anticipated turnout for Sunday’s invasion.

    Vendors who have signed up hail from California, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, she said.

    Mohegan Sun earlier embraced sneaker culture with the December 2021 opening of Portal, a sneaker boutique located in the Shops at Mohegan Sun. On its website, Portal’s owners say the independent retailer was founded out of a reverence for sneaker and streetwear culture and focuses “on premium products from a curated selection of multi-brand footwear and apparel.”

    Sneaker collecting and the origin of sneaker culture can be traced to the 1970s and ’80s and the popularity of NBA star Michael Jordan and his Air Jordan line of shoes as well as the growth of hip hop music, according to online news sources.

    Tickets for Sunday’s event start at $30 and allow a guest to bring in three pairs of sneakers to sell or trade. VIP tickets are $40 and enable the holder to bring in as many sneakers as one can carry. Tickets for high school students are $15, and children under 10 accompanied by a parent will be admitted free.

    For more information, visit mohegansun.com/sneakerhead.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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