MADISON (WKOW)-- Navigating through downtown Thursday night was tougher than usual with thousands of fans heading to the Kohl Center for the boy's state basketball tournament.
Last year more than a 100,000 fans attended the boys and girls basketball tournaments. Even though it's only the boys this year in Madison, fans say they're still excited to celebrate their version of March Madness.
"Even on a Thursday night, it's not even championship Saturday yet, but everyone is hyped. It's pretty fun to be a part of," basketball fan Zac Webster says.
For parents and family members it's a chance to see their kids play on the big stage. Other fans simply come to watch the best teams and players regardless of where they're from.
"I think it's awesome that it's here in Madison because it's such a good atmosphere," Brock Gospodarek from Two Rivers says. "The people here are pretty awesome and I wouldn't want it to be anywhere but here."
For many fans coming to "Mad-Town" as they call it, has become a yearly tradition. Many were surprised to see the girls tournament move to Green Bay for two years, but are happy the boys didn't go with them.
"That would not be an option. I think here, Madison, it's where it needs to be. This is where it's home," Webster explains.
Just down the street from the Kohl Center, workers at the Nitty Gritty bar couldn't agree more.
"It's disappointing, you know. We'd like to have the girls here as well," Nitty Gritty Co-Owner Eric Suemnicht says.
Without the girls in town the city is missing out on an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fans. Managers say many fans would stop by for a drink or a meal, but instead of looking at what they've lost, they're thankful for what's still here.
"It obviously affects business. We care very much what happens, but we'll kind of take it in stride and do the best we can with what's on the schedule," Suemnicht says.
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