Visitors to PoliticalFest during the Democratic National Convention this summer will be able to indulge in a political museum and fair of sorts fashioned after such professional sports festivals as FanFest and JamFest.
People will be able to sit at a news anchor's desk and read from a teleprompter, see videos of old campaign commercials and a mini replica of the White House. And there will, of course, be plenty of T-shirts and political souvenirs for sale.
PoliticalFest will be the one large convention event open to the public.
As many as 50,000 people are expected to attend the convention July 25-28 at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Democratic candidates for president and vice president will be nominated by the party. PoliticalFest, to open at the Pennsylvania Convention Center a few days before and during the convention, is also expected to draw tens of thousands of people.
Peter Kiley, a vice president at C-SPAN, who is helping coordinate C-SPAN's exhibit at PoliticalFest, said that Philadelphia's PoliticalFest in 2000 was the first of its kind and the best he has seen so far at any convention.
"Philadelphia's is great, just sheer size - there's lots of good stuff," he said.
The first PoliticalFest was held during the 2000 Republican National Convention, the last time Philadelphia hosted a convention. It was the brainchild of former mayor and governor Ed Rendell, who is helping organize the 2016 convention and PoliticalFest.
"It's a great way of integrating people with the convention," Rendell said last week. "It's like Alice in Wonderland for anyone interested in politics."
The space for the 2016 PoliticalFest will be 125,000 square feet, half of the space in 2000 that drew more than 80,000. Anna Adams-Sarthou, DNC host committee spokeswoman, said the hall chosen for PoliticalFest 2016 was what was available at the Convention Center.
But the committee is looking to have a similar amount of items as it had in 2000, she said.
Just last week, the DNC host committee that is organizing PoliticalFest was in talks with the JFK Presidential Library and Museum to get a digitized color copy of John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration speech in full. Other presidential libraries will also be lending items to the event, Adams-Sarthou said.
Rendell said he will be reaching out to big-name Democrats to get them to sign up for some games, such as a political-style Jeopardy. (Rendell envisions maybe former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck Schumer going head-to-head) and also a political-type Family Feud (he would like to involve some House Democrats.)
The host committee, which has a fund-raising goal of $85 million for the entire DNC event, estimates that PoliticalFest will cost $1 million of that.
The interactive political exhibition will also likely display a former presidential Air Force One (sans the wings) or limousine, Rendell said.
C-SPAN will be bringing its 2016 campaign bus, which people can enter and take interactive quizzes on politics and government, Kiley said. The news company will also have a political history wall of timelines and interesting facts, and it will bring its collection of presidential oil portraits painted by artist Chas Fagan.
Kiley hopes that PoliticalFest will be an opportunity for children and young adults to get interested in politics. He said the event should "let young people know . . . what critical role campaigns have. Outcomes are consequential, even to high school students."
PoliticalFest is tentatively scheduled to open July 22. Admission will be $15 for adults and $5 for children.