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6th Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival – Friday Events

Charlottesville, VA—Tom Tom Founders Festival announced today highlights for the fifth day of the 2017 Festival, which runs from Monday, April 10 through Sunday, April 16.

Founders Summit, The Paramount Theater, 9am-5pm – The third annual assembly of entrepreneurs share their founding stories and offer advice on starting up anything, anywhere. 2017 Founders Summit Keynote Speakers are: Anne-Marie Slaughter (New America), Dave McClure (500 Startups), Kim Jordan (New Belgium Brewing Company), Laura Weidman Powers (Code2040), Craig Dubitsky (Hello Products), Mike Porath (The Mighty), Mike Muse (Muse Recordings), Susan McPherson (McPherson Strategies), Justin Ahrens (Rule 29), and Ting Xu (Plow & Hearth).

Hometown Summit, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, 8:00am-5:00pm – Small and mid-sized cities with big ideas pilot path-breaking solutions to 21st century challenges. This multi-day summit combines dozens of interactive keynotes, workshops and peer-led panels, offering a chance to learn from and connect with change-makers leading some of the nation’s most creative and successful campaigns for community development. Friday’s highlights include:

  1. Creative Placemaking, 8:30-9:45pm – with Jason Schupbach (National Endowment for the Arts), Juanita Hardy (Urban Land Institute), Liz Ogbu (Studio O), and Teal Thibaud (Glass House Collective).

  2. Future City: America’s Local Innovators, 12:30-1:4pm – with Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter (New America), Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Mayor Mike Signer of Charlottesville, and Mike Lenox (Darden School of Business at UVA).

  3. What Can the Gig Do for Your City, 2:00-2:50pm – with Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Sheila Dugan (GovEx at JHU), Aimee Meacham (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), Elliot Noss (Ting/Tucows), and Debra Socia (Next Century Cities).

Investor Summit, The Paramount Theater, 10am-5pm – An exclusive gathering of mid-atlantic investors with luncheons, a syndicated showcase, thought leadership programs, and keynotes from some of the world’s leading investors.

Friday Night Block Party, Lee Park, 5-11pm – Our open air block parties in Historic Downtown Charlottesville showcase the best in music, art, tech, and local food. Friday Night’s block party includes concerts featuring Boy Named Banjo, Adrian Duke,  The Fritz, and Sleepwalkers. We will also have a Food Truck Rally, Craft Beer Garden, and Sorry, Not Sorry: Interactive Silent Dialogue. Friday night will host the Tech Mixer from 5-8pm where 100+ of the region’s hottest firms and most innovative companies mix with investors, entrepreneurs, and top talent from across the region.

Projection Mapping on the Downtown Mall, The Downtown Mall, 8-9:30pm – Watch as the Eugene Bradbury Building is transformed into a larger than life digital canvas by local artist, Jeff “Doc Jim” Dobrow.

Workshop Series, The community workshop series convenes leaders to share their skills, knowledge, creative process, and advice in diverse fields. Friday’s Workshops are:

  1. Dyeing Easter Eggs with Spices, Spice Diva, 3:30-4:30pm

  2. Artisanal Chocolate Truffles, Gearharts Fine Chocolates, 4-6pm

  3. Making Favorite Childhood Treats: Pop Tarts, Wonderment Bakeshop & Creamery, 4-6pm


Farm to Table Restaurant Week, Various Locations, 5-11pm—Participating restaurants will feature a special dinner menu that highlights local food artisans and producers.

Craft Cocktail Competition, Various Locations, 5-11pm—Top bartenders create specialty “Tom Tom” cocktails, featuring local spirits and ingredients. Patrons will vote for their favorites throughout the week, and a panel of judges will also crown a winner.

City as Canvas: Mural Project, Various Locations—In its fourth year, Tom Tom’s 2017 Mural Project will transform underutilized spaces into public art–the embodiment of  Tom Tom’s “City as Canvas” initiative.

Office Hours Mentoring Series, During the week of Tom Tom, established professionals in a variety of industries take aspiring entrepreneurs and creative individuals out for coffee at Grit Cafe and one-on-one mentorship.


To read more about the Festival and the see the full schedule, please visit:


To register for press credentials, download approved photography and video, and see the press kit please visit:

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The Tom Tom Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival. Supporting high-impact events throughout the year, the Foundation seeks to empower the innovators whose creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to community help ensure a better future for us all. Now in its sixth year, the action-packed Founders Festival is held during the week of April 13 (hometown hero Thomas Jefferson’s birthday) in Charlottesville, VA. Learn more:


The Tom Tom Founders Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, American Evolution, the Quantitative Foundation, and the i.Lab at UVA. It is also generously underwritten by a number of leading organizations, including the University of Virginia, Ting, C-Ville Weekly, New Belgium Brewing Company, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, City of Charlottesville, Galant Center for Entrepreneurship, the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.


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