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, www.phldnc.com.
“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, www.phldnc.com. The National Constitution Center will be the only location selling hardcopy tickets to PoliticalFest during the event’s run time.