TEDxCincinnati to Host 'World's First TEDx Drive-In Main Stage Event' at Hamilton's Holiday Auto Theatre

“We’re thrilled to offer TEDxCincinnati’s signature mix of innovative ideas, authentic stories and interesting people — all at the Holiday Auto drive-in’s safe, socially distanced venue"

Photo: facebook.com/holidayautotheatre

On Aug. 27, TEDxCincinnati will host the world's first and only drive-in TEDx Main Stage event at the Holiday Auto Theatre in Hamilton.

A community version of the larger TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) initiative, "a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks," this would have been the ninth year that TEDxCincinnati hosted its annual spring Main Stage event. (Main Stages combine multiple speakers for a longer evening of TED talks; like a conference but more innovative.)

Slated to be held in May, Jami Lah, executive director of TEDxCincinnati, made the difficult decision to cancel Main Stage when it became clear that countless concerts, performances and other large events were being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was definitely disappointing for everybody; for the speakers, for the coaches and for the team,” Lah says.

This disappointment didn't stop her, though, and TEDxCincinnati launched its first ever virtual circles as a way to keep the community connected online. After the success of the weekly (now monthly) Zoom calls, the TEDxCincinnati team began discussing the idea of hosting Main Stage at a drive-in movie theater.

“This year’s Main Stage Drive-In Event will be an experience unlike any other,” Lah says. “We’re using this opportunity to explore a new setting and try new things — which will make for a fun and perspective-shifting night out.” 

For this new platform, TEDxCincinnati partnered with Studio821 in Newport. With their help, all TEDx speakers will be able to film their talks, which will then be projected onto the screen at the drive-in.

“We’re thrilled to offer TEDxCincinnati’s signature mix of innovative ideas, authentic stories and interesting people — all at the Holiday Auto drive-in’s safe, socially distanced venue,” Lah says.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and the line-up of six speakers includes:

  • Dora Anim, chief operating officer of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. 
  • Dr. Somi Javaid, a women's sexual health provided and the founder of HERmd, aimed at closing the gender gap in health care.
  • The Sole Bros, a nonprofit founded by its members when they were in eighth grade, that collects sneakers and distributes them to kids in need in places like Jamaica, Ghana, Texas and Cincinnati.
  • Dr. Sanjay Shewakramani, an emergency medicine physician and the CEO of Revive Strength & Wellness. 
  • Renee Seward, a professor at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning who teaches typography, exhibition design and graphic design, and also researches the development of physical and digital tools to combat literacy issues in society.
  • Kent Wellington, an attorney, mentor and founder and board chair of the Karen Wellington Foundation for LIVING with Breast Cancer.

Between each presentation, Jenn Jordan from Q102’s morning show, will emcee. Lah says she hopes the Cincinnati community will fully embrace a night out which offers the opportunity to learn more about things that spark your curiosity. 

“Especially now, during COVID, people really are curious,” she says. “They want to go somewhere and where else can they go to get this same kind of stimulation?

"If you love TED talks, you’re gonna love Main Stage.”

Attendees are encouraged to arrive at the theater between 7 and 7:45 p.m. as the show will begin promptly at 8:15 p.m. Concessions will be available for purchase and attendees can opt to bring lawn chairs if they prefer not to sit in their cars. 

The Holiday Auto Theatre is located at 1816 Old Oxford Road, Hamilton. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit TEDxCincinnati.com.

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