Be inspired by a few big ideas

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By Kirsten Laskey

Los Alamos was founded to put a very big idea into fruition. Ever since the days of the Manhattan Project, when scientists worked to create the first nuclear bomb, that effort to produce new ideas and create inventions has continued.

To celebrate how the gears, cogs and wheels haven’t stopped turning in the community, the MainStreet organization is hosting the Next Big Idea, a festival of discovery, innovation and invention.

The festival will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at 15th Street and Central Avenue.

Several programs will be featured throughout the day, including Catch the Zephyr competition hosted by the Bradbury Science Museum. Additionally, there will be a Discovery Zone and an Inventors’ Showcase, during which inventors will display their wares and answer questions.

Youth activities will also be held along with live music by a jazz quartet called the Pete Amahl Quartet, sponsored by the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series, at 11 a.m. in Metzger’s parking lot.

Katy Korkos, member services coordinator for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, said the event is brand-new. The hope is, she said, to make the Next Big Idea a signature event that occurs every year.

It was created to play up the strengths of Los Alamos and to inspire people.

“This is a town known for its inventions,” Korkos said. “People who work at the lab have to come up with new ideas all the time.”

The Chamber of Commerce is not the only one getting in on the action. The Los Alamos County Utilities Department light bulb exchange is tied into the festival. Korkos explained people can bring their regular light bulbs and exchange them for energy-efficient, compact fluorescent light bulbs for free.

Also, the compact fluorescent light bulb is being featured on the logo for the festival.

The event will hopefully showcase the innovations of local business, as well as offer a cheaper alternative to a gas-guzzling trip out of town.

Finally, “We hope it will be fun,” Korkos said.

The festival will conclude with a performance by MASS Ensemble, which stands for Music, Architecture, Sound, Sculpture, at 7 p.m. Saturday at Duane Smith Auditorium. The show is presented by the Los Alamos Arts Council and MainStreet. Besides the MASS Ensemble show, all events for the Next Big Idea are free. Discounted tickets for the Mass Ensemble show are on sale at CB Fox, the Chamber and Brownell’s Hallmark. Tickets will also be sold at the door.