Festival coming to Oakland

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Festival coming to Oakland

Oakland Forever 2014. Photo: Courtesy of OBID

Oakland Forever 2014. Photo: Courtesy of OBID

Oakland Forever 2014. Photo: Courtesy of OBID

Oakland Forever 2014. Photo: Courtesy of OBID

By Rio Maropis / For The Pitt News

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Promising to “push the boundaries” of a normal festival experience, the Oakland Business Improvement District will soon give all Oakland residents a chance to walk the red carpet and check out new tech.

Oakland Business Improvement District is hosting its third annual Oakland Forever event, a festival free to the public from Oct. 8 to 10, which mostly takes place on Oakland Avenue. OBID scheduled multiple events per day to showcase culture and innovation in Oakland through technology, fashion and art exhibitions. OBID has designated Oct. 8, as Tech Thursday and Oct. 9, as Fashion Friday. Saturday does not yet have a theme, according to Jonathan Winkler, spokesperson at OBID.

“Instead of a stereotypical festival, we’re really trying to reach out, be different,” Winkler said. “We’re trying to spread our wings a little bit.”

Tech Thursday will feature a tech showcase, as well as the tech crawl, according to Winkler. OBID will hold the showcase outdoors on Fifth Avenue and Oakland Avenue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature a number of interactive tech exhibits.

The tech crawl will begin at Revv Oakland, an organization that fosters startup technology companies, at 5 p.m., at 3710 Forbes Ave.

Technology enthusiasts or startups on the tech crawl can network with executives on a tour from Revv Oakland of startup companies NoWait and Stitch Fix. The tech crawl will finish at 8 p.m., Winkler said.

According to Revv Oakland founder Mark Musolino, OBID included Revv in the festival because it’s a “co-working community.” Revv Oakland offers office space to fledgling companies and functions as a community center for events.

“[We provide] a turn-key office environment for startups. There’s no long-term commitment, and we give them everything they need,” Musolino said.

On Fashion Friday, Oakland Avenue will close from Forbes Avenue to Sennott Street to transform the street into an outdoor runway.

Teams of five members, who must be 21 or older, are eligible to participate in the fashion show with a desire to showcase their style. The show will feature street style from 12:30 to 1 p.m., and street couture from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Both Natalie Bencivenga, editor of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s SEEN, which covers social life in Pittsburgh, and Sara Bauknecht, the Post Gazette’s style editor, will judge the contest.

Bauknecht and Bencivenga collaborate weekly on a web show called “Setting the SEEN,” in which they feature events throughout the city, as well as style.

“Any time an event can bring people together to spotlight the diversity of any neighborhood in Pittsburgh, I think it’s great,” Bauknecht said. “And I think Oakland Forever is trying to do that.”

Bauknecht and Bencivenga will also set up a pink carpet and interview participants about their thoughts on fashion in general and in Pittsburgh.

As the fashion-forward teams march down the runway, Steeler-turned-painter Baron Batch will create his vibrant artwork live.

Winkler said Saturday’s schedule wasn’t complete, but said the events will celebrate arts and culture.

“We’re trying to celebrate technology, startup culture, fashion, art — all of these things that make Oakland what it is,” Winkler said. “The startup economy here will drive the future.”

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