It may be a strange name for a festival, but the Geek Pic- Nic is going to be the coolest place to be this Passover.
Taking place in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park, the three-day festival will include exhibits and interactive workshops about the latest advances in technology, science and art. A live platform for amazing discoveries and networking for the hi-tech community, as well as the local Israeli community.
It was originally held in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a father-son event. The founders of Geek PicNic, Exponenta, chose Israel as their second event location.
Forming a partnership with Carmi Wurtman, the founder of 2B Vibes, a well-known event producer based in Motza, they began to plan Geek PicNic Israel more than two years ago. Together with Wurtman’s creative edge and Russian entrepreneur Alex Tomkevich’s one-of-a-kind tech event, they have created a plan for one of the biggest family festivals in Israel befitting the Start- Up Nation.
The festival will be set up as two PicNics each day. One will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the other from 4 to 10 p.m. A Jerusalem Geek PicNic ticket will entitle the participant entry to the entire Geek PicNic Playground, which will be divided into five zones. In addition, there will be a Gadget Market and many local Passover food options for purchase.
Take a peek at the map because there will be four hectares of fun.
Zone 1: Main Stage Zone 2: Technology Zone 3: Science Zone 4: Art (Visual Art, Video Art) Zone 5: PicNic Kids’ Activities Each zone will have exhibits, workshops and ways to interact with technology, art and science that allow the visitors “to be part of it.” The event has been meticulously planned to meet the safety and security standards of Israel, known to be among the strictest in the world. The park will be fenced in, and all exhibits and interactive displays will be led by trained guides.
I had a chance to sit down with Wurtman to get a sneak peek of the plans. The list of exhibitors, lecturers and activities is phenomenal.
A full schedule will be posted on their website (www.
geekpicnic.co.il) very soon, but in the meantime these are the activities and exhibits that he has allowed me to share.
Tesla Lightning Show: Learn how man can create lightning using Tesla coils to express art through an electrifying dance show. During the day, this exhibit will take place in a blackout tent; the evening event will take place outdoors.
Hand of Man: You will be mesmerized by the 4 Story Hand Robot, a.k.a. the car crusher, which can be controlled through a special glove worn by human hands.
Big Idea: Special area for kids to create Passover-themed computer games using KODU software (made by Microsoft Israel) and design their own 3D model in Tinkercad software. Workshops are led by Big Idea counselors, who will give you a taste of Israel’s most popular sleepaway technology camp, with campers from 30 countries.
Drones: Watch as the newest drone technology is used for drone racing. If you want to learn more about flying a drone yourself, you can take part in drone tryouts. Make sure to listen to the strict height restrictions for flying drones near the Knesset! KnowItAll: Dr. Mom will lead kids in science experiments that they can do at home. She teaches kids, especially girls, that it is cool to be a scientist.
Bionic Drummer: See how Jason Barnes used his greatest challenge in life to create an opportunity.
After losing an arm in a freak accident, he contacted an Israeli professor at Georgia Tech and asked him to build him a bionic arm for a drummer. Come and hear his inspiring story.
Cyborgs: Learn about people who have elected to “upgrade” their bodies with technology.
Discuss the ethics and philosophy behind it and how the disabled community can benefit from this innovation.
RoboFish: Replacing real fish, these robotic fish are more colorful, clean and can glow in the dark. This invention from France will change the way you think about pets.
Fab Labs: Visitors can get up close and learn how to use 3D printers for printing food, tattoos and large-scale items.
Gaming Zone: Enjoy touch screens, jousting, role-playing, table- top, retro video games and, of course, consoles and e-sports. See how technology has enhanced game playing.
The Virtual Realm: Take a break from the real world andenter a virtual one with the help of special virtual-reality glasses.
The gadgets you will see and the worlds you will enter will astonish you.
The Makers Area: Everyday people show off their inventions and ideas. Your kids will definitely be inspired to take their dreams and develop them.
Now you can see why it is worth spending six hours at the Geek PicNic with your family this Passover.
Wurtman was excited to describe the extra benefits of hosting this amazing event in Israel. “I have seen relationships between the international presenters and the local Israeli companies and academics grow into productive networking opportunities,” he says.
A family festival that can encourage the Russian Space Program to speak to Space IL is pretty incredible. Wurtman is very thankful to have major strategic partners such as the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Jerusalem Municipality, The Hebrew University and Moscow University working together with him on this project. He hopes it will become an annual event as the hi-tech ecosystem in Jerusalem continues to expand.
The founders of Geek PicNic have a long-term strategic development plan for the Geek PicNic to spread across the world. As the Start-Up Nation, Israel was the clear choice for the growth of the Geek PicNic concept, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was thrilled to host it.
Wurtman expects 15,000 people to come each day, and he has already sold more than 40 percent of the tickets.
Do you or one of your kids want to volunteer at this event? Teens and students are invited to get in touch with Wurtman to join the event in the fields of technology, art or science. This will be a great opportunity to interact with some of the smartest minds in Israel. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jerusalem Geek PicNic is a festival that mixes technology, tourism and academia in Israel.
It is an event for everyone – secular, religious, Jerusalemites, Israelis from outside Jerusalem and tourists. ` Dates: April 25, 26, 27 PicNic times: 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Special FIJ ticket prices: Go to www.funinjerusalem.com/geekpicnic Family ticket: NIS 374 (two adults, two kids). Extra child NIS 54 Adult: NIS 124 Child: NIS 104 Regular ticket prices: Family ticket: NIS 444 (two adults, two kids) Adult: NIS 144 Child: NIS 114 (ages 5+) The writer is the founder of Fun In Jerusalem (www.funinjerusalem.com). She lives in the capital with her husband and three kids and loves to inspire family fun. joanna@ funinjerusalem.com