What If?! festival of innovation gets creativity moving

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Lockheed Martin will be back at the What If?! festival with its slingshot catapult.

What if you were walking down Cascade Avenue and you met a guy who made the most far-out bicycles you’ve ever seen? What if you got to talking to an engineer about the principles of flight and it inspired you to make your own invention?

It could happen at this Saturday’s “What If?!” festival in downtown Colorado Springs. Organizers call it a festival of innovation and imagination – where left brainers meet right brainers to show off their latest technology, gadgets, gizmos, art and inventions.

Last year, the free event drew an estimated 15,000 people, said Sean Anglum, event spokesman.

The festival, in its second year, has 15 percent more interactive booths than last year for a mix of 84 booths that feature garage inventors and big box store’s latest high tech products.

Companies will demonstrate their latest technologies, including a hearing device that operates off contact points on the face and skull. And, Pikes Peak Library District will feature a “gadget garage” where they show off iPads, e-readers and other devices to those who might be reluctant to make the book-reading switch.

Returning to this year’s event is the popular “slingshot catapult” by Lockheed Martin. Last year, Lockheed Martin engineers helped kids and adults sling 3,000 biodegradable water balloons.

“That was huge hit,” Anglum said. “The engineers from Lockheed Martin are there talking about principles of flight while people are shooting biodegradable balloons.”

The festival aims to get people moving. There will be a fleet of recumbent bicycles and wheelchair basketball – for all disabled and abled bodies to try. And, there will be art – artists of all ages will color Cascade Avenue with chalk art.

Urban street artist Fuse will demonstrate the art of spray-paint designs while local artist Jason Baalman will create 3D art with unusual objects like Cheetos and BBQ sauce.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there will be events going on inside the Pioneers Museum, the Pikes Peak Center and the Plaza of the Rockies.

For a map and program of the What If?! Festival, go to www.whatif-festival.org/