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Lehigh Valley Festival of Art, Science and Technology: Connecting science and art

Da Vinci Science Center presents Festival of Art, Science and Technology.

Try screen printing and watch an air rocket shoot high into the rafters of Allentown's PPL Center.

These are a couple of the activities featured at a free carnival-style family event, which will take over the main floor and the concourse of the PPL Center on Sunday.

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The Lehigh Valley Festival of Art, Science and Technology will be presented by Allentown's Da Vinci Science Center and Make Lehigh Valley.

Organized every two years by Da Vinci, the festival has expanded to include the arts, says Karen Knecht, the center's director of education and exhibits. The festival was started locally to build on a national movement begun in 2007 to hold community science festivals across the United States.

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The Festival of Art, Science and Technology name was adopted to highlight the connections between science and the arts.

The first festival was in 2012 at the Agri-Plex at Allentown Fairgrounds. "We used to call it the science festival," Knecht says, "but renamed it because the arts are very engaging and offer an entry into science and technology."

More than 40 exhibitors — including entrepreneurs and technology and health companies — will present experiments, interactive activities and games.

The festival's goal is to engage people and raise awareness of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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The last Lehigh Valley Science Festival in 2014 was a hit and drew more than 3,400 people to Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

"We want to get people connected to science and technology and pique their interest and ignite their curiosity," Knecht says. "Kids can talk to a real scientist or engineer and find out why they are passionate about their jobs."

The festival, previously held in the spring, was moved to the fall to coincide with the beginning of the school year.

"We wanted kids to see what they can do with what they are learning in school," she says.

Da Vinci Science Center will bring its 1,000-square-foot exhibit "Math Midway 2 Go." It's a portable version of Math Midway, which features carnival-themed activities exploring patterns, shapes and numbers.

Make Lehigh Valley — a group that enjoys making things ranging from art to electronics — will teach soldering techniques. Children can make a metal pin, while supplies last, and take it home.

Kids can learn about screen printing from Baum School of Art and see robotic cars built from Lego bricks by team members of IguTech Robotics.

MTS Ventures will shoot air rockets from the floor of the PPL Center, and visitors can see a robotic surgery simulation by Lehigh Valley Health Network.

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Children can play with Discover ZYX Sticks — wooden, open-ended, building sticks — created by Lehigh University student Shannon Varcoe that help them learn 3-D design. They can try the new card game "The Robot That Totally Saved Cleveland," created by graphic designer Chris Severn of Bethlehem. Players must build a robot from head, body and feet cards to defeat the Evil Dr. Head Case and his Mutant Monsters.

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Fans can meet and pose for photos with Darth Vader, Imperial Storm Troopers and other characters from the Dark Side of "Star Wars," 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The characters are from Garrison Carida, a chapter of the 501st Legion serving Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia.

The 501st Legion has more than 6,000 members who re-create movie-accurate costumes of "Star Wars" characters. The group is not sponsored by Lucasfilm, but is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group.

Carida was formed in 2002 and has more than 150 members who share their love of "Star Wars" by appearing at charities and nonprofit events.

The Lehigh Valley Zoo will bring some of its educational animals for shows from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Allentown Symphony Orchestra will have a petting zoo of musical instruments that kids can touch and examine.

David Press, an artist whose work has been displayed at New York City's National Museum of Mathematics, will show how he uses string to create three-dimensional objects from straight lines. These are inspired by 19th century mathematician and model-maker Theodore Olivier, whose string sculptures re-created mathematical shapes.

Families can learn about techniques of selective farming with Subarashii Kudamono, grower of gourmet Asian pears that are patented and grown only in Berks and Lehigh counties.

Encouraging young girls in STEM education areas is the goal of exhibitors such as YWCA Bethlehem, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pa., Lehigh Valley Society of Women Engineers and Girl Develop It, Lehigh Valley, which teaches women web and software development.

Other presenters include ATA International, B. Braun, Barnes & Noble, Cedar Crest College, De Sales University, Fabricator 3-D Printers, Harsco Industrial Patterson-Kelley, Janotech, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Lehigh University, Lehigh Valley American Chemical Society, Lehigh Valley American Society of Civil Engineers, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Lutron, National Museum of Industrial History, NCC Horizons for Youth, Northampton Community College, Nurture Nature Center, Polymer Contours, PPL, STEMFab, Temple/St. Luke's School of Medicine and St. Luke's University Health Network, Baum School of Art, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, Vintage Computer Federation, Wells Fargo, Wildlands Conservancy and WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

610-778-2235

LEHIGH VALLEY FESTIVAL OF ART, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

What: A free carnival-style event with experiments, interactive activities and games

When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: PPL Center, 701 Hamilton St., Allentown

How much: Free

Info: www.davincisciencecenter.org, 484-664-1002

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