Augusta’s budding technology and innovation scene will be on display Saturday.
Founding members of downtown’s meeting space for entrepreneurs, engineers, software designers and other tech-driven professionals, The Clubhou.se, have partnered with the city and various arts groups to hold the third annual Super Happy Block Party, a festival on Broad Street that incorporates anything from robotic displays and data coding to microbrewing and a kazoo conga line.
“The things that are going on in Silicon Valley can happen here with the right people and the right enthusiasm,” said Grace Belangia, an event co-organizer and founding member of The Clubhou.se, which opened at 816 Broad St. in December 2012. “We’re constantly telling people here in Augusta, ‘We have a technology community. Let’s support it.’ This is one of the ways to do that.”
The Clubhou.se co-founder Eric Parker was instrumental in starting the first Super Happy event in 2012 in Palo Alto, Calif., and brought the block party with him to Augusta.
From 1-7 p.m., the festival will shut down Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth streets to create a pedestrian-friendly environment for people to browse nearly 30 arts and tech booths lining the sidewalks. There and at the Augusta Common, they can check out interactive dance performances and multiple demonstrations.
Inside The Clubhou.se, children can make miniature CO2 dragsters, guests can watch an LED light display and programmers can create projects through open sets of data. Last year, participants developed an app of Augusta parks.
A venture capitalist pitching booth also will be stationed at the downtown storefront for startups and entrepreneurs to garner advice from five investors, who combined, are worth more than $100 million in investment capital.
“Imagine a combination of speed dating and Shark Tank,” Belangia said. “We’re going to have startups have an opportunity to sit down one-on-one with a venture capitalist and pitch their idea, whether it’s a product, service or mobile application,”
Other activities include live music, a chalk art competition and photography demos.
“Our whole mantra is experience technology, creativity and innovation,” she said. “If you imagine the families that are very much science and technology-oriented, but they may not be so much sports-oriented or arts-oriented, this is basically an event that they could go to.”
Though the event is free, donations will be accepted to support The Clubhou.se.
The festival is held in conjunction with the National Day of Civic Hacking, designed to bring together technologists, entrepreneurs, developers and others to create projects from sets of data provided by government agencies. Augusta is one of 100 cities to hold an event either May 31 or June 1 in honor of the National Day of Civic Hacking.