Next Big Idea celebrates the mind

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The festival of discovery, invention and innovation includes family friendly activities

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos is known for its technology, forward thinking and ideas.

The annual Next Big Idea event provides a venue for scientists, technologist, artists and inventors across the state to share ideas with each other and the public.

The innovative festival showcases ideas that fascinate the senses and the mind.

The event runs Friday through Saturday July 16-17.

The weekend is filled with family-friendly activities highlighting Los Alamos’ unique, creative heritage - designed to inspire, illuminate and educate through science, technology, arts, exhibits and displays and food and music.

“Over the next several years, we would like to see this event grow into something Los Alamos becomes known for and where people come to have a fun weekend and share in the culture of Los Alamos,” said Executive Director Kevin Holsapple of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.

The Next Big Ideas falls under the chamber’s Los Alamos MainStreet program.

The weekend gathering kick’s off with STEM Student Day, which runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 16 for pre-registered youth in grades 7-12.

STEM Student Day is designed to stimulate interest and inspire young people from throughout the state about possible futures in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Activities include a full day of “meet the scientist and inventor” and local tours.

“The Next Big idea is not only a great venue for adults but it’s a great opportunity for young people to experience science in a fun way,” MainStreet Manager Suzette Fox said.

The evening caps off with a free concert at the pond by “Last Call.”

Also included in the weekend event is a Discover Zone on Saturday in which children of all ages can “touch, see and squish their way through the festival.” Groups are invited to display, demonstrate and provide interactive

activities that will spark innovative interests in youth of all ages.

The Next Big Idea event will occupy a series of tents along Central Avenue at Ashley Pond as well as inside the Community Building on 20th Street. Vendors will provide a variety of food from hot dogs to ice cream.

“We’ll continue to accept registrations from exhibitors through Monday,” Fox said.

For more information, contact Fox at 661-4844.