One Spark is an annual event in Jacksonville (for the last 4 years) that focuses on helping business startups become successful. It’s become a huge crowd draw each year, with last year’s crowd estimated at around 320,000 people throughout the six day event! But some of the organizers felt that the festival atmosphere (I think this means hundreds of thousands of people eating and drinking within a few city blocks) took away from the original point of One Spark – discovering and helping startup companies connect with invest-able money. So this year the event was completely different. For starters, it was scaled back from six days to two. The first day combined forces with Art Walk, a monthly downtown event, and got a new name: Spark Walk! The second day was made up of the Innovation Day conference and Spark Tank, where creators pitched their businesses to a panel of experts.
We went to Spark Walk, because any excuse to be downtown is good enough for us! But as people who love the festival atmosphere of years past (performers, artists, creators), we were definitely a little disappointed. And I think that feeling stemmed more from a lack of understanding of the event than the event itself. As we talked to people throughout the evening (even many of the creators pitching their ideas) we were amazed that no one seemed to clearly understand the point of this year’s event. And honestly, it wasn’t until I read this article later, that I finally got it myself!
So ALL this to say: we saw some incredible local art, ate good food, were introduced to new business ideas, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather! And now I’m playing around with the idea of setting up an all-things-vintage booth at one of these outdoor events. Mainly because I realized we could completely stock it with items currently in our home. HA!