The One Spark Festival begins Wednesday, and downtown businesses are hoping this lights an economic spark for them, too.
"This is five days, 100,000 people in downtown," says One Spark Spokesperson Abel Harding. "We think the merchants downtown will be very pleased by the traffic this generates and hope to for many years to come."
And in the years to come, Harding says the goal is for One Spark to generate the kind of revenue that other big outdoor events do. Like, South-by-Southwest in Austin, Texas with an economic impact of $170-million and ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan which generates $16-million for their city.
One Spark is so promising, some Monday-thru-Friday businesses in downtown Jacksonville are even planning to stay open this weekend. The event promises a $250,000 crowd fund to the best creators and innovators who put their best technology, robotics, gaming, art or music on display. Even Jaguars Owner Shad Khan put $1-million towards supporting the event.
“With One Spark, we are seeing so many talented people come together to put on a great event for the good of our city,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “This is not only a great opportunity to ensure our best and brightest have a venue to compete, it’s an opportunity to open new doors for Jacksonville by drawing thousands of people to our Downtown for a truly unique experience.”
The event will take place in one square mile of downtown for five days. There will be 464 projects displayed across 65 different venues. The crowd must register to vote on which display deserves the crowd fund. Visit the One Spark website to find out more.