More than 100 ways to get creative at What If Festival in Colorado Springs

By Jen Mulson Updated: September 8, 2017 at 8:19 pm • Published: September 8, 2017 0
photo - The What If . Festival of Innovation and Imagination will take place downtown on Saturday. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette
The What If . Festival of Innovation and Imagination will take place downtown on Saturday. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules and patterns, to create ideas and interpretations.

The Imagination Celebration's eighth annual What If ... Festival of Innovation and Imagination seeks to get the creative juices flowing in each of us.

Leggatt Kerek, 12, catches bubbles he created Saturday, September 6, 2014, at the Colorado Springs School's booth at the Imagination Celebration's What If Festival in downtown Colorado Springs. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

"Exploring creativity is a huge broad concept," said Deborah Thornton, executive director of Imagination Celebration, a nonprofit organization that provides art programs for kids in the region. "That's what we want to show. Every individual is creative, and there are lots of ways to engage creative thinking and critical thinking. The intention of the festival is to cross-pollinate and show lots of different ways our region is creative."

The free day-long celebration stretches over six downtown blocks Saturday and features about 120 experiences for all ages, including toddlers and senior citizens, inside and outside Pikes Peak Center, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and Plaza of the Rockies.

Last year, more than 25,000 folks attended. The festival is so spread out, though, that it doesn't feel congested. There's plenty of space to lie in the grass and soak up the atmosphere or listen to 25 performers on four stages or watch eight dance performances on a designated dance stage. About 20 food vendors will be on site, along with a wine and beer garden on the Plaza of the Rockies terrace.

Participants weave yarn around a public art installation during the 2016 What IF. Festival of Innovation & Imagination outside the Pioneers Museum on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette  

Other highlights:

- Portal: Enjoy the gold shipping container parked outside the Pioneers Museum, because after the festival, it will move to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a few weeks. The international interactive public art installation is the work of artist Amar Bakhi, and it allows people to step inside and visit with folks around the world where other portals are. Saturday's experience will feature performances from musicians from four countries, including Mexico and Afghanistan.

- Mobile earth and space observatory: It's a "science center on wheels," said Thornton. There'll be ways to look at solar imagery and observe the night skies.

- Classics car show: A century of cars, from 1900 to 2017, including a 2017 electric Tesla.

- "American Ninja Warriors": Local folks who have competed on NBC's competition TV show will help visitors maneuver through their tiny obstacle course.

- Chalk it Up Art Challenge: The festival favorite seeks artists of all ages to illustrate downtown sidewalks in the most colorful ways possible. Cash prizes are available.

- Lockheed Martin's angry nerds slingshot: Propel angry birds/nerds to a target.

- Simulated cave: Crawl through 60 feet of a simulated cave and test your skills, all while trying to avoid stalagmites.


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