By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philly Tech Week kicks off Friday with dozens of events scheduled through next Saturday.

It’s designed to show off the city’s growing technology community.

Philly Tech Week is not just about gadgets — though there will be plenty.

“We’ll have a 3-D printer, a guy dressed as a stormtrooper. We’ll have robots, video games,” said Sean Blanda, one of the organizers.

All that, at just one of the programs.

“It’s entrepreneurs, media, developers, designers, digital divide issues, venture capitalists and artists. For a long time, these groups have been siloed, and this is the kind of event to bring them all together and to show the city and the region that this is a vibrant community worth noting,” Blanda said.

There are happy hours galore, a DIY music night, computer training, entrepreneur expo — even a Tetris arm wrestling tournament.

Blanda, co-founder of, says you can try your hand at video games when studios take over Independence Hall next Wednesday:

“It’s like a free arcade,” he explained.  “Some of the games are best-sellers on PC and Xbox.  You get the chance to talk to developers and ask them how they made the game and see the concept art and all the stuff that goes behind that.”

He suggests checking out programs like ‘Switch Philly.’

“…Which is kind of an American Idol-style competition between five startups.”

That’s next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Gershman Y.

There’s also a noontime series all week:

“Learn about anything from open data to what it takes to be a black entrepreneur in the city — and get a free lunch,” Blanda says.

Most of the events are in Center City, and many are free.

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