Next Big Idea Festival set to inspire, entertain

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By The Staff

For the fifth year, Los Alamos will spotlight the community’s unique and creative heritage with the “Next Big Idea Festival: A Festival of Discovery, Invention and Innovation,” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The free, family-friendly event is designed to inspire and educate through science, technology and arts.
Likewise, STEM Student Day on Friday, is designed to stimulate interest among young people about careers in science, technology, engineering and math with interactive programs.
On Friday, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Student Day will showcase three imaginative programs that students, grades seven through 11, will participate in including: “Show Me your Muscle,” “How Cell Phones Work,” and “R2D2 and His Band of Robotic Telescopes.” Students who participate will have a chance to win a Kindle Fire. A kid’s activity area at Saturday’s festival will feature hands-on science exhibits.
Immediately following the STEM event, entertainment will be provided by local teen bands. Sonji, Ryan Van Cleave, Matt Tapia, Nathan Lindsey, Michelangelo Lobato, Kile Uhlenbrock, and Cody Ulibarri will perform for Co-op Rocks, starting at 7 p.m. in downtown Los Alamos. “It’s all about the teens,” said Sandra West, Co-op outreach coordinator.
The Los Alamos High School Theater group will do an improv act. STEM Student Day takes place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. To register, visit nextbigideala.com/stem-student-day.
“What differentiates Los Alamos from other communities is that it is a place of big, world-changing ideas,” said Suzette Fox, MainStreet executive director. “This weekend is designed to educate, illuminate, inspire and entertain by celebrating discoveries, inventions and innovations in science, technology and the arts.”
The festival Saturday features a lineup of interactive exhibits from exhibitors such as: Los Alamos National Laboratories; Beaver Toyota; Kraz-E-Science and the Albuquerque Astronomical Society.
The Fuller Lodge Art Center has a few “tricks” up its sleeve in accordance with the ongoing Trickster Show so the public is welcome to drop by at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Other hands-on free art activities are also available at the art center.
For the second year in a row, a “Recycle Fashion Show” features clothing made by members of the community from recycled products. The fashion show will be at noon near the roundabout by Pet Pangaea. This year’s “fashions” are a collective effort by the community, sponsored by Los Alamos County Environmental Services.
Along with a Robotic Frisbee competition, food will be provided and both the Surf Lords and Higher Ground will play live at the beer and wine garden between 1 and 6 p.m.
Beaver Toyota will host an automobile section with electric cars, and many more fascinating demonstrations designed to spark an interest in young people about science, math, technology and engineering.
Friends of the Shelter will be on hand with a mobile adoption for smaller dogs, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the south lawn of Fuller Lodge. There will be a doggy kissing booth and a reduced fee microchip clinic.
New this year at the festival, everyone is invited to participate in a scavenger hunt where they will have a chance to win an iPad mini. Register at the information booth to participate.
The event will also showcase the annual Sec Sandoval Chalk Walk, named for local artist Secundino Sandoval. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Each square will be rented for $5.
Pick up an application full of details about the event at the Los Alamos Art Council office in Fuller Lodge, where preregistration is ongoing. Drawings should be completed by 12:30 p.m. This year will also feature Mika Holtzinger, an artist from Albuquerque who will be doing a special chalk art drawing for the event.
Also, guided tours will be offered at no charge of the Smart House across from Fuller Lawn every hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Smart House is a project that partners the Department of Utilities, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is a demonstration smart home equipped with photovoltaics, a battery, a home energy management system, and smart equipment and appliances for optimized power consumption.
For more information on the Next Big Idea Festival or STEM Day, visit nextbigideala.com or contact Suzette Fox at suzette@losalamos.org or 661-4844.