YORK, PA - The benchmark 35th Annual Keystone State Games Festival of Sports, Presented by York College of Pennsylvania, returns to York County this week, and the public is encouraged to come watch as thousands of the best amateur athletes participate in four days of Olympic-style competition Thursday through Sunday.

York County is in the second year of a three-year run hosting the Games. This summer will mark the eighth time York has hosted the prestigious event, which features more than 30 different competitions, including field hockey, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, gymnastics, fencing and many others held at more than a dozen venues across York County and beyond.

This year's Games will also include the 2016 Keystone Lacrosse Championship, bringing as many as 48 boys teams from all corners of Pennsylvania. Adding to the excitement, the 33rd Biennial Pennsylvania Senior Games will run concurrently with the Keystone State Games, and competitors will have the opportunity to qualify for the 2017 National Senior Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

"Last year's Games were a monumental success in York County, but 2016 promises to be even better," said Anne Druck, President of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We're thrilled to welcome athletes from all over Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. We expect that close to 14,000 athletes and spectators will visit York County this week and generate an estimated $10 million in total economic impact for our community. That would bring the two-year total to more than $17.8 million, with more to come in 2017."

Festivities will include a special welcome at Thursday night's York Revolution baseball game at PeoplesBank Park. The public is invited to help welcome the athletes while enjoying a night out at the ballpark as York renews its War of the Roses Series with the Lancaster Barnstormers. The game begins at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $14.

For more information about the Keystone State Games and Senior Games, as well as tentative schedules and competition locations, please visit www.PremierSportingEvents.com

The Keystone State Games are a result of a resolution introduced by Representative Joseph R. Pitts (Chester County) and approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1980. 

Since its inception, Keystone State Games, Inc. has attracted hundreds of thousands of athletes in various age groups to its events. Keystone State Games, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, was formed in 1983, with the help of former Governor Richard Thornburgh, so the Games would not be solely dependent on government funding. 

In honor of their contributions, Pitts and Thornburgh were part of the inaugural Keystone State Games Hall of Fame Class, honored earlier this year. They join the late Owen J. Costello, Ronald Lench, Harold Rosenn and John Reese as members of the KSG Hall of Fame. 

This year's Games in York County will build upon an already impressive legacy.

York College of Pennsylvania, Presenting Sponsor of the Keystone State Games Festival of Sports, is rolling out the red carpet for athletes with a special website welcoming competitors and by hosting several of the festival's sporting events at its top-tier athletic facilities. For more, visit www.ycp.edu/keystone

The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Sport York initiative is designed to recruit events and generate additional economic impact in York County. Sport York positions York County as Pennsylvania's Premier Sports Destination, highlighting the area's dynamic facilities and central location on the East Coast. For further information about Sport York, visit www.yorkpa.org/sports

The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. The York County CVB's Vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit www.yorkpa.org.