The Democratic National Convention is set to be a memorable experience for all who attend.
Mainly reserved for delegates, not everyone can get a glimpse inside the Wells Fargo Center throughout the week.
But the city wants to give those people a fun taste of history in the form of a festival — known as PoliticalFest.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Kristyn Aldrich, a Leapstarr Productions employee who is overseeing this effort.
“The goal was to come up with a bunch of different exhibits that highlighted the different parts of the presidency that aren’t normally focused on,” said Aldrich. “….we have seven different venues, each with their own particular theme.”
The venues include exhibit rooms with replicas of Air Force One and the Oval Office — even an exhibit of Presidential locks of hair that have been found over time at the Library Company of Philadelphia.
Initially started for the RNC in 2000 by former Mayor Ed Rendell, the festival stemmed from celebrations of a major sport.
“I got the idea when we had the baseball all-star game in 1996,” said Rendell.
“Baseball’s very smart. To make the locals feel part of the all-star game they created ‘Fan Fest,’ where you could see on kiosks some of the baseball games of the great baseball plays of all time.”
But this year’s fest is set to be the largest so far, utilizing a shuttle bus, the Philadelphia Phlash Loop, which is included with ticket prices.
Christopher Haines, Leapstarr’s Senior Technical Designer, laid out the blueprints for the project. He’s incorporated as much technology into the exhibit as he could — including photo ops at Air Force One and the Oval Office.
“The door opens up, there’s a presidential seal, so it’s a good photo op(portunity)…someone standing, coming out of Air Force One coming down the steps,” he said.
While at PoliticalFest, you also have the opportunity to watch your favorite reporters test their political knowledge.
The festival will host a game show featuring reporters from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News — all going head-to-head, testing their political knowledge. Haines said the game will also include political figures, like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Above all, Haines shares the excitement of his co-workers — and is glad to see their work come to life.
“You can get this close to something that’s…from Abraham Lincoln’s time. It’s…really amazing!”
The festival is open throughout the convention. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $5 for veterans, students and children under the age of 18.