Elton Rivas is the co-creator of the One Spark Festival. Last week I sat down with him and learned “how to One Spark.” Rivas told me he was excited about how this will transform Jacksonville.
“I think honestly we are most excited about the things we don’t know [are] going to happen," says Rivas. "We have heard some rumblings of some really cool stuff to put on during One Spark. We are just really excited to see this come to life and see what our community can be.”
Elton Rivas and his team have worked hard to make sure this event would lead to a revitalization to Downtown Jacksonville. With over 500 creators gathered in over 65 local venues, this weekend is sure to bring crowds from all over the world.
“The vision for this has always been to make something that is a part of the fabric in the community, and helps the rest of the world know about it," Rivas continues. "It’s going to take some time, but this is a really good start. We said, if year one we have 300 creator projects that would be good, and now we have over 500 projects and 900 creators and three year commitment from sponsors.”
After all their hard work, One Spark is set to kick off tonight with opening ceremonies from 6:ooPM - 8:00PM at Hemming Plaza.
Interested in heading out to One Spark? Here's our how-to guide:
The festival is offering these options for parking and traveling downtown:
- Lot E at Everbank Stadium will be open for parking. Trolleys are scheduled to run to and from the stadium to the corner of Hemming Plaza during the festival hours.
- You can also park at the Osborne Convention Center - the Skyway runs every 7 minutes from the Center, and will take you directly to Hemming Plaza Station. The Skyway will run until 3 A.M. the days of the festival.
Roads will be closed downtown around Hemming Plaza and the festival districts. Expect a lot of pedestrian traffic through the area. You can read more about the road closures in this article.
From Hemming Plaza, you will be able to hear creators pitching their ideas to the public on the pitch deck. There will also be a pitch deck at Main Street Park. Creators are scheduled every 10 minutes on the pitch decks.
“Think of it as American Idol meets Shark Tank but its live its public, its fun, its interactive," says Rivas. "We have all sorts of people that are going to be up there. Some are going to be up there talking about their passion, and some will be up there talking about their crazy new technology, or mobile app, and then there will be people showcasing art installations.”
The pitch decks will help you find projects and creators that interest you. Keep an eye out for ones you will want to visit.
Also, make sure you pick up your event guide when you arrive to make marks about where the creators will be located during One Spark.
“That’s what this whole One Spark movement was built on," Rivas says, "... connecting great ideas with resources that are going to make them happen.”
Along with the creator displays and pitch decks will be other One Spark events:
- Speaker Series - The Florida Blue One Spark Speaker Series brings you a variety of internationally known minds. The series will run from 10:00AM until 8:00PM each day at the Times Union Center. These presentations will be first-come first-serve; tickets are $50 to see all twelve speakers, and will be available online at One Spark's website. There will be speakers on many topics such as crowd funding, entrepreneurship and more. Pick up your event guide for more information on the Speaker Series.
- Food Village - Located up and down Laura Street and open throughout the festival will be over a dozen food vendors. One item of note is the special One Spark Brew created by Intuition Ale Works especially for this weekend. You can purchase a One Spark growler at any of the merchandise stands located around the festival.
- One Spark Store - Pick up some official One Spark merchandise while you're at the festival. The main store will be at Icon Boutique located at 108 East Adams Street, but other stands located around the festival can be found in the even guide. These stores will be selling everything from key chains to special edition posters, men and women's clothing, and plenty of toys for the kids.
There are over 65 venues at One Spark with at least one creator in each venue. Be sure to look for the yellow venue signs located around the creator district that will indicate where the creators are located. The locations will also on your event map.
Creators will presenting their ideas and projects in a variety of interesting ways, and urging you to vote. You can vote for a specific creator with their creator number.
Make sure you have downloaded the app from the Android Market or the Apple App Store, and have filled out all the necessary information if you will be donating money to invest in the creations. You will need your credit card number in order to donate directly from your phone.
If you have checked out all of the vendors, head down to the Jacksonville Landing and listen to the musical creators pitch their ideas through music. There will be three stages set up around the Landing, and plenty more creators located right along the Riverwalk. Each musician will have 20 minutes on stage to perform. Some of these creators have other events in the Entertainment District after 8:30PM.
At 8:30PM, various restaurants and bars will be open in the Entertainment District. Local owners have created their own schedules for each night of the festival. It is an extra way for creators to pitch their idea and have people come up and talk to them about the details of the creation. You will have a chance to have a one-on-one conversation with the individual creators.
One Spark begins today at 3:00PM, with opening ceremonies at 6:00PM. The festival will be open 9:00AM - 8:00PM Thursday through Saturday, and 9:00AM - 12:00PM Sunday. One Spark will then hold closing ceremonies at Hemming Plaza at noon on Sunday.