A real-life version of Kickstarter is drawing crowds and cash to Jacksonville

FORTUNE — Part fundraiser, part pitch contest, and part real-life Kickstarter campaign, the One Spark festival is picking up steam. Earlier this month, the company hosted its second-ever crowdfunding extravaganza, which drew a crowd of 260,000 attendees who funneled $363,000 into more than 600 projects.

Perhaps most notably, One Spark is not located in Silicon Valley, New York, or Boston. It’s not even located in a burgeoning tech hub, such as Austin, Boulder, or St. Louis. One Spark’s home is in Jacksonville, Fla.

The location is no accident: Co-founder Elton Rivas decided to create the crowdfunding festival in his hometown after Brad Feld’s book on Startup Communities inspired him to stay there. Rivas had previously started a marketing agency and a co-working space in Jacksonville. He was tired of seeing his peers feel like they had to move to another city to do something great, he said.

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“We’re not going to replicate the infrastructure of New York and Silicon Valley,” said Rivas. “But in the local market, we can have a big impact with an event where people can meet and support each other. We want this to be a place where people know that new ideas are welcome.”

Rivas teamed up with Peter Rummell, who created Disney’s planned community in Celebration, Fla., to put together the first One Spark festival last year. Rummell pointed out that, unlike many cities around the country, Jacksonville is not rushing to copy the tech ecosystem of Silicon Valley.

“We’re not the next Silicon Valley,” Rummell said. “Jacksonville wants to be the best version of what we are.” That means showing the world that the city has interest, excitement, and money to support innovative new ideas, he added. Also important: celebrating all ages.

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Rivas secured sponsors for the event, who donated toward funding projects ranging from art and music to science and technology. He got local venues to manage the pitching of projects to audiences. He designed an app and kiosks to help attendees navigate the whole festival. (They could also donate to their favorite projects through these touch points.) And, most importantly, he put in place a voting system so that everyone who attended could vote on which projects received money, in addition to donating to the projects themselves.

Rivas expected a few thousand people might attend; he underestimated the response, by a lot. More than 150,000 showed up to One Spark’s first event. Venture capitalists flew in from around the country, and presenters from around the world turned up to pitch their projects.

So Rivas, Rummell, and their team of eight did it again this year, and the response doubled. Winning projects this year included:

WaZINIT, an app that scans food labels for specific ingredients.

Catty Shack Ranch, a wildlife sanctuary.

AquaJax, a public aquarium proposal.

Meatrix, a tool that determines whether meat is cooked.

Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, a bluegrass band.

Farm to Truck, an organic school lunch program operated by students with learning disabilities.

Boneshaker, an electric penny-farthing bicycle.

Now Rivas is taking One Spark to Berlin. The festival will debut its first international event there in September. Numerous cities have contacted One Spark in hopes of bringing the event to their city, Rivas says, but he’s not making any decisions about where to go next until after September.

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