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Region's first TEDx slated for September in Phoenixville

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Region's first TEDx slated for September in Phoenixville

Phoenixville, PA-- A lot of big changes have happened in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in the past few years and now a group is bringing a day of joyful new ideas to the former steel town.

Phoenixville, situated along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia's northwestern suburbs, has become an arts and entertainment destination thanks to groups like the Association for the Colonial Theatre. Now, the Colonial Theatre, famous for contributing compelling music and film to the Borough's revitalization efforts, is spearheading an effort to introduce the region to new ideas with a TEDx program.

TEDx is an independently organized TED event that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

At the regional TEDx events, unique talks given by live speakers combine with TEDTalks videos to spark deep conversation and connections. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

Most TEDx events are themed and TEDxPhoenixville has selected the idea of a Joy Ride to develop their day long program. Along with the opportunity to see and hear an interesting panel of speakers, TEDxPhoenixville attendees will experience unique networking opportunities and an engaging social aspect common to TED events.

"We most definitely wanted to keep the content lively for several reasons," comments Kirsten Van Vlandren, TEDxPhoenixville committee chairwoman.

"Foremost, it will be the first introduction that many people have to TED and we want it to be a positive introduction. Secondly, the idea of a day of speakers can be off putting– we want everyone to know that this is going to be an exciting, interactive program. Lastly, there's enough bad news in the world right now… a day full of promising ideas and unique success stories is sure to inspire everyone in attendance.”

In fact, the committee held four introductory salons in the months leading up to TEDxPhoenixville, scheduled for Saturday, September 25, in an effort to familiarize the community with TEDx and to start to build buzz about the live event.

Themed separately with a nod to the main Joy Ride theme, the salons discussed Joy, Happiness, Kindness and Passion and included TEDTalks videos and live content from dynamic speakers, performance artists and musicians.

"The committee has worked very hard on developing a program that is unique and engaging,” continues Van Vlandren. “We have invited individuals with interesting lives– some from nearby and some from faraway– to share what makes their ride joyful.”

As a metaphor for life, the ride theme allows open interpretation to an interesting format of speakers and performers that include adventurers, inventors, virtuosos and entrepreneurs, A diverse collection of individuals whose common denominator is attacking their passion with joy.

The TEDxPhoenixville Committee includes Van Vlandren, Assistant Director, The Colonial Theatre; Mary Foote, Executive Director, The Colonial Theatre;LuAnn Roth, Patron Services Director, The Colonial Theatre; Kelly Stoetzel, TED Content Producer; Todd Palmer, advertising agency Creative Director; and community members and TED enthusiasts Jay Brown and Tyler Donald.

The day-long TEDxPhoenixville will kick-off at 9:30am and will feature three sessions and an optional lunch prepared by local caterer, Julie Zlogar, using many local ingredients. Attendees are also encouraged to experience Phoenixville during the breaks including a visit to the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market where TEDxPhoenixville has a special event planned.

Speaking of special events, TEDxPhoenixville has collaborated with a number of local merchants to offer special pre-TEDx events where attendees can get to know one another and interact with the region.

Organized by The Colonial Theatre volunteer Beth Lennon, events scheduled for the evening of Friday, September 24 include a private tour of the legendary SEI art collection, a chef’s tasting menu at Majolica, a pottery class at Diving Cat Studio and a beer tasting and tour at Sly Fox Brewing. Participants in the different activities are encouraged to meet up at the Columbia Hotel’s second floor following.

“TEDx is all about making connections,” adds Foote under whose leadership The Colonial Theatre has become an area icon. “Connections to new ideas, new people and new possibilities. We’re excited to be able to facilitate that!.”

TEDxPhoenixville has a number of financial and in-kind sponsors who are helping to make the event a reality including Virtual Farm Creative, Inc.,Longview Proprties, RLS Video, National Penn Bank, The Soul Center, Diving Cat Studio, The Andersen Family and Preston Leadership. There are additional opportunities for sponsorship of the inaugural year of this dynamic event.

For more information on sponsorship or attending please visit the TEDxPhoenixville website at


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