By KYW tech editor Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philly Tech Week kicks off Friday with nearly 150 different things to do, from the hands-on to the more cerebral — all of it, putting the city’s thriving technology sector front and center.
This is version four of PTW, and the early adopters have a lot more company now.
“We started it in 2011, and there were 4,000 people who came out to the first one,” says Brian James Kirk, one of the organizers. “This year, we’re expecting more than 25,000 people to attend.”
One of the many events is ‘Arcade at the Oval’ Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“It’s an outdoor festival at Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum, featuring locally made video games, food trucks, and a whole bunch of other community partners,” Kirk says.
And, it includes Tetris, played among the lights on the facade of the Cira Centre at 30th Street Station — the site of the last year’s Guinness record for world’s largest video game, Pong.
Another event to check out: the Chevrolet Innovation Tour.
“We’re having a couple really well-known tech hubs across the city open their space for people to check out, and that includes the University of Pennsylvania’s nanofabrication lab,” Kirk explains. “And the Comcast Center wants to show off some of the innovative stuff they’re working on.”
Kirk, who’s a co-founder of Technical.ly, home to Technically Philly, says the events of Philly Tech Week — sponsored by AT&T — put the focus on business, media, civic engagement, programming, and arts.
“There’s a hackathon that’s focused on bringing together the fitness community — think of it as techniques meets health and wellness,” Kirk says. “That’s a cool hands-on one that’s happening this Friday.”
Most of the events are free. Even if you consider yourself a Luddite, you might be surprised by what you can learn:
“Even if you don’t feel like you’re a part of the tech community, find one event to go to — I feel like it’ll really resonate with you,” Kirk says.
Philly Tech Week runs through next Saturday. For a schedule, CLICK HERE.