I was invited to attend this three-day event, which I unfortunately will not be able to make because it is held in Chandler, Arizona. It sounds like a great way to bring the community together while highlighting science and technology.
Three-day festival highlights science and technology
Published Jan. 18, 2014 in SanTan Sun News
A three-day festival in February will provide a glimpse into the science and technology that makes Chandler tick.
The Chandler Science Spectacular, Thu., Feb. 20, through Sat., Feb. 22, showcases the businesses, artists, students and innovators in the community as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival.
The Chandler event is comprised of three free happenings.
The Chandler Tech Crawl is 5:30 p.m. Thu., Feb. 20, and features some of the biggest names in science opening their doors to families.
Technology meets the arts during A Night of Art and Science from 6 to 10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 21, as Downtown Chandler transforms its monthly Third Friday Art Walk into a creative look at the science behind the food and drink, beauty, art and invention.
Chandler’s Science Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Feb. 22, has interactive demonstrations by Chandler’s technology companies along with the next generation of science.
“Everything is free,” says Councilman Rick Heumann. “It’s a great event for families. It’s really to showcase what Chandler is all about and the companies that we have.”
Heumann founded the Chandler Education Coalition three years ago to bring the school district, city nonprofits and business community together to benefit students in Chandler.
“It is really designed because everyone has limited funds,” he says.
Heumann and his coalition are behind the localization of the Arizona SciTech Festival.
“More and more cities are stepping up and doing a lot more things,” Heumann says.
The Chandler Science Spectacular, he says, has been successful because of the individuals working behind the scenes.
“Chris Mackay and her team should get some major kudos,” Heumann explains.
City of Chandler Economic Development Director Christine Mackay boasts about the 3-year-old Chandler Tech Crawl on Feb. 20.
“Three of the Chandler companies open their doors and provide tours and scientific demonstrations to see the neat, exciting technology that is happening in Chandler,” she says.
Those businesses include Chandler’s Innovations Incubator, 145 S. 79th St.; Intel, 5000 W. Chandler Blvd., Building CH6; and Infusionsoft, 1260 S. Spectrum Blvd. Mackay is one of the tour guides at Intel.
“The same people come back every year,” she says. “They seem to be really engaged and excited to see what is going on in their community.”
A Night of Art and Science on Feb. 21 takes place at the historic square in downtown Chandler.
“It’s a tremendous draw for the community,” Mackay says. “It’s our best attended third Friday art walk every year.”
Downtown Chandler Community Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Lindley says her organization shows the science and technology behind people’s creative arts.
“We encourage our artists to show a little more about how their craft is created,” Lindley explains.
Typically 60 to 80 artists showcase their art and about half of them offer demonstrations. Last year there was a glass blowing demonstration and SanTan Brewing Co. showcased how to make beer.
The final event, Chandler’s Science Saturday, is Feb. 22.
“It’s a good old-fashioned science fair,” Mackay says.Sixty Chandler companies participate in the fair, which closes down Commonwealth Avenue, so the businesses can set up hands-on activities for the attendees. Individuals have the opportunity to move from booth to booth along the street while engaging in science and engineering activities.
“It’s so much fun,” she says.
Arizona State University, University of Arizona and TechShop at the Chandler Innovation Center will have open houses during the event. The Hamilton International Science and Education Festival will also have student projects on display at Hamilton High School.
Mackay remembers watching three little faces last year as they watched an orbital science group, which was the highlight of the event for her.
“You saw the look come over the three little faces: ‘I know exactly what I want to do,’” she recalls. “That moment, they knew exactly where they were going in life.”
The three-day festival, Mackay says, is a way to make sure Chandler residents understand the science behind the community.
“Chandler is strongly and deeply rooted in technology companies,” Mackay says. “Chandler is committed to technology and innovation and that is what we want to celebrate.”
For more information about the Chandler Science Spectacular, visit chandleraz.gov/science.