May 12, 2016

Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Announces PoliticalFest

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention today announced PoliticalFest, a one-of-a-kind festival celebrating American political history, government and the road to the White House. This non-partisan exhibit will combine multi-media and interactive displays, historical objects, and special guest appearances designed to entertain and engage residents, tourists, and Convention attendees. It will run from July 22nd-27th at seven participating locations in Philadelphia.

“We are excited to announce PoliticalFest and the unique opportunity residents and Convention visitors will have to better understand our democratic process through this multi-platform festival,” said former Governor Ed Rendell, Chairman of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee.  “PoliticalFest was such a success during the 2000 Republican National Convention, and we expect it to be even more fun, engaging and innovative this time around.”

“It is very important that Philadelphians benefit from the DNC being in town, and PoliticalFest is a great way to engage our community members and involve them in this summer’s historic event,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Philadelphia is home to many historic and cultural attractions, and I am pleased some of them will be showcased through PoliticalFest, enabling both Philadelphians and visitors to learn about American history and politics in a unique forum.”

PoliticalFest, the brainchild of former Governor Ed Rendell, was first created in 2000 for the Republican National Convention and was very successful. It is a riff off of FanFest, which enables sports fans interested in particular games to experience the sporting events without being there. Similarly, PoliticalFest is designed to engage delegates who will be in town to participate in the Convention and offer residents a special opportunity to feel more involved in the event.

The experience will consist of exhibits at seven participating locations, each centered around a specific theme related to American politics, government, and history. The locations will feature different displays and attractions, including the campaign trail, Philadelphia & the Presidency, a media zone, political entertainment, and more. There will also be a staging area for live performances, political game competitions, and panel discussions.

The seven participating locations and their themes are:

National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street)
Theme: Headed to the White House
The National Constitution Center will serve as the hub for PolticalFest. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the Center’s feature exhibition “Headed to the White House,” as well as a mix of activities and Political Theater, which will include political feud, political trivia, interviews and panel discussions. The Center’s permanent exhibits will also be incorporated into PoliticalFest, and C-SPAN’s educational bus will be featured outside the Center.

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall F (1101 Arch Street)
Theme: Politics and You!
Hall F of the Pennsylvania Convention Center will offer a variety of interactive experiences, including an Air Force One fuselage, an Oval Office replica, political fun and games for children in an area called Future Leaders Zone, and more.

National Liberty Museum (321 Chestnut Street)
Theme: First Families
The National Liberty Museum will be home to items and images from the presidential First Families, featuring the museum’s collection of White House china spanning back to George Washington’s time as president, special programs provided by the Rendell Center for Civic Engagement, dresses from First Ladies, and First Family photo exhibits.

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent (15 S. 7th Street)
Theme: Philadelphia & the Presidency
The Philadelphia History Museum will showcase Philadelphia’s history with the presidency, including a photo opportunity for attendees to be a part of a whistle stop campaign tour.

The Philadelphia Library Company (1314 Locust Street)
Theme: Presidential Archives
The Philadelphia Library Company will feature writings, photographs and artifacts from its personal collection as well as from a variety of partner organizations.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1300 Locust Street)
Theme: Founding Documents
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will give attendees an opportunity to see their treasured collection of some of the nation’s founding documents.

Heritage Center at the Union League (140 S. Broad Street)
Theme: Political Conventions in Philadelphia
The Heritage Center’s exhibit takes a deep dive into the 11 political conventions held in Philadelphia between 1848 and 2000.

Exhibits will be open at each venue daily from 10am-6pm during PoliticalFest.

There will be a dedicated bus loop serviced by Philly PHLASH vehicles connecting all seven participating locations, and ticketholders will be able to use the bus to travel between locations. This is in addition to PHLASH’s regularly scheduled service. PoliticalFest tickets will be honored on the PHLASH Downtown Loop for the duration of PoliticalFest, so ticket holders can connect to either the main Downtown Loop or the PoliticalFest loop to get around. Many PoliticalFest locations are nearby each other, and ticketholders will be encouraged to walk between many of the sites.

C-SPAN, the nonpartisan, commercial-free cable network dedicated to covering the American political process, will showcase several of its interactive educational exhibits at PoliticalFest. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour C-SPAN’s award-winning multimedia Campaign 2016 Bus and learn about campaign coverage from the network’s signature political program “Road to the White House” as well as explore C-SPAN’s online campaign resources and engage with the American Presidents Exhibit, which brings to life the nation’s 43 presidents through one-of-a-kind oil portraits along with biographies, photographs, and interactive video and audio recordings. Attendees will also be able to brush up on history and presidential elections through large educational walls where people can learn more about the 2016 Electoral College, a historical timeline of presidents’ lives and service, and an in-depth look at key events from C-SPAN’s convention coverage since 1984.

“For 30 years C-SPAN has been bringing educational resources to communities across the nation to help students, teachers, and the general public better understand and appreciate the political process,” said C-SPAN Vice President Peter Kiley. “Given our past experience with PoliticalFest in 2000 and our long-standing commitment to sharing our resources, C-SPAN is pleased to be part of PoliticalFest once again. We hope our interactive educational exhibits will engage and provide a fun, informative experience for Philadelphia-area students and visitors, and for Convention delegates.”

University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government is the official sponsor of the entertainment portion of PoliticalFest, called Political Theater, which will take place inside the National Constitution Center’s auditorium. A schedule of Political Theater events will be posted to the Host Committee’s website,

“In a year where the political process has captured the attention of our country like never before, we are proud to be a sponsor of PoliticalFest to bring the resources and expertise of the Fels institute to help engage the public,” said Fels Executive Director, Dr. Nelson Lim.

PoliticalFest will be ticketed, open to the public and appropriate for all ages. Tickets will cost $15 for adults, $5 for children 18 years of age and under, college students with a valid student ID and seniors 65 +, and free to veterans and credentialed Convention attendees. One ticket will be valid for all six days of the Convention.
Tickets can be purchased through EventBrite, accessible via a dedicated PoliticalFest page on the Host Committee’s website, The National Constitution Center will be the only location selling hardcopy tickets to PoliticalFest during the event’s run time.


Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee
March 14, 2016

Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Announces LeapStarr Productions As Official Event Producer Of PoliticalFest

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention today announced that LeapStarr Productions, a regional, woman- and minority-owned event design, fabrication and production company, will be the Host Committee’s official event producer for PoliticalFest. LeapStarr will be required to provide event design, production and management services for PoliticalFest, a one-of-a-kind, multi-day festival celebrating political history, government and the road to the White House. The event will be open to the public.
“PoliticalFest will be a memorable way for the public to be part of the Convention fun in town, and LeapStarr’s experience producing unique events make it a good fit to help ensure PoliticalFest is a success,” said Kevin Washo, Executive Director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee. “LeapStarr will help the Host Committee fulfill its goal of working with regional businesses while making this the most diverse Convention yet, and we look forward to putting on PoliticalFest with them.”
“LeapStarr is both honored and humbled to be selected as the official event producer of PoliticalFest.  When Joel and I founded the company, we had big dreams, but having the opportunity to be part of such a historic political event in our hometown is certainly a privilege beyond our wildest expectations,” said Elizabeth Jenkins-Santana, CEO of LeapStarr Productions. “Together with our team, we look forward to representing Philadelphia on a national platform by providing attendees with innovative and memorable experiences.”
LeapStarr Productions offers in-house design and fabrication services and has produced events of various scales and budgets, including a number of experiential marketing activations. The company is made up of a team of results-driven artists, creatives and visionaries with an in- house staff of over 30 employees. Their clients include nonprofits, large-scale events, and corporate companies.
A minority-owned business, LeapStarr is committed to diversity and inclusion in all of its work and has an existing network of minority-, women- and LGBT-owned and -managed organizations with which it works to complete projects. The company will also look to subcontract with local and regional businesses as needed to provide additional services required by the contract with the Host Committee.
In order to fulfill the scope of work required of the PoliticalFest event producer, LeapStarr will dedicate a portion of its team to the project. This work includes:
  • Developing detailed plans and layouts for the exhibition spaces;
  • Production design;
  • Working with potential exhibitors and providers to determine needs;
  • Custom fabrication of different parts of the exhibit as needed;
  • Assigning spaces, providing setup and handling logistics for exhibits;
  • Subcontract for maintenance, security and ushering services;
  • Manage volunteer guides and assistants of PoliticalFest and individual exhibits;
  • Staff and operate ticketing operation;
  • Subcontract for other needed staging, lighting, sound, production effects, audiovisual and other facilities and services as needed;
  • Develop and manage schedule of special events and appearances, and oversee run of show;
  • Coordinate and oversee removal of exhibits and load out.
The Host Committee selected LeapStarr Productions as the PoliticalFest event producer following a Request for Qualifications process that began in January.
The Democratic National Convention will take place July 25-28, 2016 in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 2000
May 23, 2000

A Festival of American Politics in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The city where democracy was born is preparing another historic first, PoliticalFest, for the 2000 Republican National Convention this summer. Created by the Philadelphia 2000 Host Committee, PoliticalFest, Where the Party Begins, is a one-of-a-kind world's fair of politics celebrating history, government and the path to the presidency.

This lively and entertaining celebration of the American political process is designed for history buffs, political enthusiasts, students and families.  It is open to convention delegates, media, visitors, and citizens from the greater Philadelphia region at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from July 26 through August 3, 2000.

Using interactive devices, multi-media and video, rare historical objects and museum quality archives, the exhibit transports audiences from the campaign trail to the Oval Office, while offering insight into the office of
the President of the United States. PoliticalFest provides visitors a view of the convention through live video images from Comcast-Spectacor's First Union Center.

"PoliticalFest offers everyone a chance to participate in the convention," said Karen Dougherty Buchholz, president, Philadelphia 2000. "We wanted to demonstrate civic pride through a special exhibit everyone could enjoy, and mark the greater Philadelphia region's rich history in government and politics." PoliticalFest was included in Philadelphia's bid to host the Republican National Convention.

"PoliticalFest will enhance the convention experience that awaits our delegates, the media and residents across the Philadelphia region by tying together the technology, the history and tradition that will characterize the first political convention of the 21st century," said Convention Manager Chip DiPaula.

PoliticalFest is divided into several sections: On the Campaign Trail, The White House, Philadelphia and the Presidency, Future Leaders and Memorabilia Marketplace.

"Since PoliticalFest kicks off a few days before the July 31 start of the convention, PoliticalFest literally is where the party begins!" said Philadelphia 2000's Carol Fitzgerald, executive producer.

PoliticalFest is produced by Production Group International, exhibit designers with credits including the NBA's Jam Session and America's Smithsonian traveling exhibition.

Philadelphia 2000 is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that was established to promote economic development through hosting a national political convention. Philadelphia 2000 promotes the greater Philadelphia region, coordinates city and regional services, recruits and trains 10,000 volunteers and raises private funding to support the convention.

ADMISSION: $10 adults; $5 children, seniors and students.