Bocce ball has been undergoing a quiet revolution over the past few years as new portable courts allow enthusiasts to take the sport to exciting new locations.
No longer are players limited to parks and other venues that have existing courts made of wood or stone. High quality inflatable courts made from heavy duty thermoplastic have allowed a new generation of players to transform almost any environment into a bocce lover’s dream.
Many bars, music festivals, breweries, luxury resorts and even cruise ships have become bocce hotspots, using portable courts to run pop-up events and social leagues. Some of the settings for these events are hard to believe – from bocce ball on the decks of cruise ships to high rolling in the open air at a Chicago whiskey bar, the modern game of bocce is reaching new heights.
To celebrate, we’ve come up with a list of our top six pop-up bocce venues of all time. Take a look and imagine what else is possible!
Bocce at Walt Disney World, Florida
What do you get when you combine bocce ball and a globally renowned theme park? One of the most impressive bocce ball events of all time! In 2018, Walt Disney World was the venue for the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games bocce ball competition. Hundreds of athletes took part in the bocce ball event, which was hosted in the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on high quality portable Packabocce courts from Packaworld International. All up, the games were attended by more than 5,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers.
Bocce at world-famous Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
Picture a luxury golf resort set amongst sweeping beaches, tidal rivers, and wetlands teeming with wildlife. The surrounds at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina might just be the most stunning setting for bocce ball anywhere in the United States. The resort is best known for hosting celebrities and world-famous golfers, but it is also a hotbed of bocce activity. Packabocce courts regularly grace the resort’s Terrace Lawn for stunning bocce events overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Who knows, perhaps the likes of Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy will enjoy a game of bocce between rounds when the resort’s iconic Ocean Course hosts the PGA Championship in 2021?
Bocce at Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza, USA
What could be better than a game of bocce amongst the musical surrounds of the Austin City Limits or Lollapalooza music festivals? Packaworld’s portable bocce ball courts have been regular attractions at the two festivals over the years, complementing on-stage superstars including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers and Jay-Z. There’s no better way to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the festival vibes than by playing a game of bocce between bands – with a drink in hand, of course.
Bocce on the high seas
Bocce has been regularly enjoyed on the world’s oceans since 2016, when Carnival Cruise Lines and P&O Cruises purchased Packabocce courts for use on board many of their cruise ships. Played alongside glitzy bars below deck or beside swimming pools out in the open air, bocce on a portable court is the perfect addition to a relaxed cruise ship holiday. And because inflatable courts are quick to take down and easy to store away, the space they occupy during any pop-up events can be quickly cleared and used for the next activity.
Bocce on the roof of a whiskey bar, Illinois
Bocce ball and whiskey anyone? The good folks at American Bocce Company run an eye-catching social league on the roof of a whiskey bar high above the bustling strip of Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue. Revellers crowd the cabanas and outdoor seating for a bocce experience like few others – all played on portable Packabocce courts. The liquid refreshments on offer are a great leveller and provide the perfect social lubricant.
Bocce in a brewery, Nebraska
The Nebraska Brewing Company is best known for its barrel-aged brews and reserve series beers, but did you know it’s also a highly intoxicating venue for bocce ball? The Omaha-based brewery hosts a regular bocce ball league, with up to 96 people playing each night on portable Packabocce courts. Run by Game on Omaha!, the league aims to bring bocce to a fun social setting that mixes competition and the chance to meet new people, in equal measure.
This article was prepared by New Zealand's Packaworld International. To vote on your favorite pop-up bocce setup, click here!