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‘Life after COVID’: Fairbanks Karate hosts charity tournament in-person

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VESTAL (WBNG) -- More than a dozen teams from across the Northeast traveled to Vestal Saturday as in-person karate tournaments returned to the Southern Tier.

Fairbanks Karate hosted teams from as far away as North Carolina at the 434 Sports Plex along the parkway for an event that not only celebrated a return to normal life but also raised money for charity.

Organizers told 12 News the money raised will go to Traci's Hope, an organization dedicated to helping families afford treatment for breast cancer.

Owner of Fairbanks Karate Cathy Fairbanks said the charity was started by her friend, Traci Gibson, who went on to pass away from breast cancer herself, so the event is thrown in her honor.

Fairbanks said while masks were required, it was great to hold tournaments in-person again.

"We kind of dubbed this tournament 'Life after COVID'; it's been over a year since we've had any tournaments," Fairbanks told 12 News Saturday. "I, and my school, have supported out of town tournaments; this is the first time we've invited other people. Soon as I put the word out, schools from all over the Northeast came to my effort and are here competing."

All ages competed, from preschoolers up through adults, in a variety of different competitions. Fairbanks said there was traditional sparring and form competitions, as well as weapons and board-breaking events.

Josh Rosenblatt

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