Lancashire Science Festival 2014

What a trip it has been to be involved again this year in the Lancashire Science Festival. 3 days (well 4 actually as I also worked the preview evening) of hard work, fun, laughs and stresses. Every single one of them well worth it.

Setting up on Wednesday was pretty straight forward, as I stayed on for the preview evening, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview at both the musical geeks that are Being 747 and the magical science of Ian B Dunne. It was fun and relaxed to get started, even though the snacks provided were a little bit ‘way out there’. I’ve never had asparagus spears covered in white chocolate before. In fact, I thought it was sour cream until I bit into it. Pretty addictive though, I must have had at least 3 (ahem maybe 4 or even 5).

Thursday is when the hard work really began. I ran a showfloor event based around pixel art, aptly named the ‘Pixel Point’.

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We had Minecraft and Super Mario Land set up on an XBox and a Wii respectively, and then invited people to create artefacts based around characters and items in these games using Hama beads.

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We were super popular, with young and old alike.

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I was lucky to have lots of volunteers helping out over the 3 days, Rory, Jonathan, Paul, Helen and Mahsa. And some orphans we picked up from other subjects who thought what we were doing was so much fun that they just HAD to join in too! Special mention goes to Rory and Jon who came down all 3 days and had a smile on their faces from the start of each day till the end. Which is quite a feat if their feet hurt as much as mine did by the end of Saturday!

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Thursday saw the Primary Schools visit us, which was a fab start to the festival. I’d taken down 10,000 Hama beads thinking they would do for the duration of the event, oh boy was I wrong! Got a frantic text from Rory saying that supplies were dwindling because we were so busy and the kids were having way too much fun (far more than should be expected from a school trip) so I had to go and stock up, ready for Friday. It was a mad dash to get to Hobbycraft and then back in time for the wonderfully funny Festival of the Spoken Nerd, but I made it! I even star in their Storify for the event.

On Friday we had the High Schools come and visit. I thought we wouldn’t get that much interest from them as they were a bit older, but we were just as busy. Even so, there were still plenty of opportunities to take photos to enter the festival selfie competition. Check out the Twitter hash tag #LSFselfie for additional proof of what we got up to! We also got a visit from the Vice Chancellor Professor Gerry Kelleher, which was really supportive of him. I hope he doesn’t think I look like this every day of the week though! 🙂

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By far though, the best (and busiest day was Saturday). We had nearly 5000 visitors come through the doors, and every one of them came to visit the showfloor. It was buzzing with so much energy that I just wanted to jump up and down with excitement. My good friend Bei ‘That Facepainter‘ was also booked to face paint and did me the honour of putting her artwork on my face. Isn’t she just super talented?

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I was pretty tired by Saturday as it was the last day of the festival, but to add to that, I’d stayed up quite late on Friday night making a cake to enter into the incrEDIBLE science cake-off competition. The categories were as follows:

  • most anatomically correct
  • gross science
  • scenes from science
  • best tasting

I cannot resist a good old cake-off.

Here is the cake that I made…

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It took me completely by surprise to be voted the festival favourite by the voting public, I am so pleased and grateful that people went to the cake tent and took the time to vote. I was number 13, I love the fact that the announcement is covered in blood (raspberry jam to you and me).

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My friend Cat also won a prize, we were both well chuffed.

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30,000 Hama beads later, tired feet, and a conked out iron – What a fab end to a great festival! I cannot wait to enjoy my prize, a meal for two at Heathcotes, courtesy of Paul Heathcote.

All in a day’s work eh? I do know some fabulous and crazy people, and I love my job. Waking up every day to come to things like these make me happy. And knowing people such as the colleagues that I work with make it even better.

A big shout out too to the wonderful Jo Heaton, Jenny Bennion, Tania Callagher and the rest of their amazing team, who make the Lancashire Science Festival possible. Also to all the volunteers, and to the team of academics who contribute to the meat of the event, even though we all have a million other things to do (but all agree that this is way more fun).

And on that note, we pack up and go back to our daily, yet every day different normal routine…

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PS. Do I HAVE to wash my face off?  🙁

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