The York Expo Center's Memorial Hall is the place to be this weekend to spot school mascots, superhero capes and robots.
The capes and costumes are just for show — the real attention will be focused on the machines that compete in the East Super-Regional robotics championship this weekend.
No local teams advanced to the super-regional competition, but robotic teams from Virginia to Maine have traveled to York in hopes of being one of 25 from the event selected for a worldwide competition. And the odds are one in three for advancement, as 72 teams are registered for the competition.
The competition is hosted by FIRST Tech Challenge, a group that hosted smaller robotics competitions at Penn State York this year.
Teams had their robots tested Thursday for software and mechanical specifications and will be ready for competition Friday, said tournament co-director Tom Zawislak. The competitions will run about five to six minutes each, with eight matches per team, in which teams earn points for moving blocks with their robots.
"It keeps the day moving," he said.
The event is free and open to the public. For robot diehards, competitions will be held from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Friday and from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Saturday, when the competition ends.
Qualifying teams will move on to the worldwide competition in St. Louis later this month.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.