PPCC’s Seven Booths at the What If…? Festival Draws Crowds

By Suzanne Seyfi, Staff Writer

The What IF… Festival was held on six city blocks in downtown Colorado Springs last Saturday.

It was a tremendous success, with almost 120 exhibitors and over 25,000 participants. PPCC had seven booths, all swarmed with interested people.

Find Your Path, a contest people won by finding other booths, was a huge success.

The college’s other successful booths included:

Choose Your Adventure, in which kids created books, Hands On, entertaining children with glitter, Water Town featuring a giant model and real water flow, Recycling Relay, which featured both the sustainability and culinary folks from PPCC, It Takes a Village, which provided games and international knowledge, and Creature Comforts which featured bones from many animals.

The What IF… Festival was created and is managed by non-profit Imagination Celebration with the intent of providing a family-friendly fest “to inspire artistic and intellectual curiosity and engage the community in collaborative experiences,” according to the What IF… Festival official website.

“The Festival offers a day of free engaging, interactive, and exciting experiences to wow participants of all ages. The What IF… Festival, the only event of its kind, supports economic development and intellectual vitality by welcoming participants to discover the breakthroughs of local businesses, organizations, artists, scientists, inventors, performers, and students,”said Deborah Thornton, executive director of Imagination Celebration.

“We wanted to create a day of ‘wows,’ so people would be walking around and smiling because they’re finding things they’ve never heard of before,” she added.

Music could be heard everywhere. There was a jazz stage, a KRCC live-music stage, a youth stage, a dance stage, a film stage, a general stage, and an impromptu stage. On the last stage, this correspondent witnessed at various times: a teenage boy belting tunes from Beauty and the Beast, comedic stand-up, and swing dancing.

Four radio stations blasted music from vans and booths, including PPCC’s own KEPC 89.7 FM. This correspondent’s favorite music, however, was the spontaneous drum circle being held in one of the vendor booths.

There were twenty food trucks and booths at two different “food courts.” They offered culturally-diverse culinary fare from such far-flung places as Jamaica, Thailand, Cuba, the Philippines, and New Zealand. This correspondent sampled a bison slider, plantains, gourmet grilled ham and cheese, paella, freshly made strawberry lemonade, and a cupcake. It was all delicious.

Some exhibits of note:

The Portal: a reclaimed shipping container inside which people in Colorado Springs can Skype with people all over the world. For example, this correspondent chatted with a band in Mexico City.

Sidewalk paintings: commissioned by the City of Colorado Springs, these monochrome murals were painted by six selected artists, including Dina Buckey. They are intended to bring awareness to pedestrians about the dangers of polluting storm sewers.

Cougars Gone Wired: Coronado High School’s robotics club, referred to more properly as FIRST Robotics Team 2996, showcases their amazing robots from years and competitions past. They have competed in the (international) championship eight times since the team was formed ten years ago in 2008.

Pikes Peak Library District: as well as 3D printers, bookmarks, and many library jokes, their booth offered circuits stuck into Play-Doh for children of all ages to play with. (This correspondent’s husband was amazed to learn that Play-Doh can conduct electricity.)

Check out the pictures!

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