More than 40,000 students, coaches, mentors, and family members from around the globe will converge on downtown Detroit April 19-27 for the city’s second in a three-year run as host of the FIRST Championship, an international robotics competition.
In addition to the competition, which will take place at Cobo Center and Ford Field, visitors will be able to participate and interact with various STEM-themed attractions at Beacon Park, Campus Martius, Cadillac Square, Grand Circus Park, and Spirit Plaza.
The event is sponsored by the Downtown Detroit Partnership in conjunction with DTE Beacon Park Foundation, Ally Bank, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Walker Miller Energy, Faygo, and Allied Global Marketing.
It is expected to have an economic impact of $90 million and bring a total of 120,000 people to the city during its three-year course.
“The Downtown Detroit Partnership and our team of sponsors have a unique opportunity to invest in the next generation of talent using our world-class parks and public spaces,” says Robert Gregory, chief planning and public spaces officer for the DDP. “We are excited to activate the parks with programming specifically designed for FIRST teams and their fans that also showcase Detroit as one of the nation’s leaders in STEM.”
Nearly 700 FIRST Championship international qualifying teams will compete in the culmination of a 16-week season. Students participate in K-12 robotics programs where they prototype, build, program, and operate robots to complete tasks that increase in difficulty at each level.
“FIRST Robotics offers a unique experience for youth to explore science, technology, engineering and math in an engaging setting, and we’re thrilled for Detroit to showcase the talented teams from around the world,” says Nancy Moody, vice president of public affairs at DTE Energy. “DTE is committed to supporting students and their futures in STEM. Beacon Park will be an exciting place for all to experience the competition, enjoy space-themed activities and see firsthand the power of the future.”
As the participants and their support groups navigate around Detroit, they will find the city’s parks and public spaces transformed into New Space Age-themed areas with a range of free activities including a pop-up “Parkcade,” STEM Shows with the Air Zoo and Michigan Science Center, urban astronomy and glow golf. Downtown Street Eats food trucks will be on hand with some parks hosting up to a dozen vendors per day.