The first and foremost event of the spring festival season has come to an end for this year. The second annual One Spark crowd-funding festival drew more than 260,000 to the streets, bars, corners and stages of downtown Jacksonville. The event is now one of the city’s premier attractions. One Spark is an important attraction because it brings entrepreneurs from across the country and across town to one geographical point in an attempt to win favor among the crowds that view their inventions and artistic talent. Equally, if not more important, these inventors, artists and businesspersons seek to attract investors in hopes of making their dreams come true.
Also on hand were winners from the 2013 One Spark Festival such as the mother /daughter team that are the inventors of Chair to Share. Michelle DiCroce Edwards displayed her expanding furniture line in the old Barnett Bank building where other successful past winners were housed. DiCroce’s designs attracted the attention of Jacksonville Jaguar owner Shad Khan’s investment firm. That seed money along with support from the Festival is enabling Chair to Share the chance to develop new products, complete their business plan and begin marketing, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Center stage, if there were one, was Hemming Plaza. Here, festival participants could share their dreams 15 minutes at a time with whoever was willing to stand and listen. The “product pitch” was in addition to the salesmanship each artist, inventor, or nonprofit had to display on every inch of the 20 blocks of Jacksonville’s downtown set aside for them.
For five days and four nights, an estimated 260,000 people brought a different kind of life to downtown Jacksonville with, music, song, dance, artistry, and innovation. The Chamber of Commerce weather added to the excitement with no rain and temperatures in the mid 70s. Store owners from the luggage shop to Jacksonville Landing could not have asked for better foot traffic. On the southeastern corner of Hemming Plaza the old abandoned Snyder Memorial church played host to the dream that it may live again as a place where one day children will enjoy the sound of music that they will record in a state of the art studio.
The idea men behind One Spark are now preparing to take their “spark” to Berlin, Germany as the Festival goes global.