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Security review underway for One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville

2:31 PM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A security review is underway for the first ever One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville this week.

Festival organizers and city leaders want to ensure the safety of the event after the deadly bombings in Boston.

David DeCamp, spokesman for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, gave First Coast News this statement on behalf of the mayor:

 "I have directed our emergency management team to coordinate with federal and state authorities to actively monitor and assess the situation in Boston.  We had already engaged public safety agencies to ensure a safe One Spark experience, and I have ordered our team to review those preparations and make any enhancements necessary to protect the safety of all involved."

One Spark invites creators and inventors from all over the world to showcase their ideas and connect with potential investors.

A $250,000 crowd fund, $1 million in capital investments and immediate individual contributions are available, and the festival is expected to attract as many as 20,000 people.

As such, many businesses downtown are preparing for larger than usual crowds.

The owner of Zodiac Bar & Grill is ordering twice as much food as he normally does, and he is extending his hours in the morning and evening this week.

"It is going to be interesting, but we are excited," said Jeriees Ewias.

Ewais added he hopes the festival will help him recover some business lost during the recession.

"We've lost a lot of workers downtown over the last five or six years," he said.

At the Omni Hotel, there is a shared sense of optimism.

Sales & Marketing Director Irene Peterson said the hotel hopes One Spark ignites interest downtown even after the festival ends.

"It's obviously in its infancy stages. And I think having the prize and having people be able to vote for it, I think the interactive nature, and of course I think everybody of course is so into their little smart phones. I think it'll be really fun," Peterson said.

She added businesses started off slow for the hotel in terms of rooms booked for One Spark.

She said Omni is not the designated festival hotel and already had events on the books for this week, but that activity is starting to pick up.

You can learn more about One Spark by clicking here.

First Coast News

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