By Larry Bock
Founder and organizer, USA Science & Engineering Festival
A visit to Washington, DC in the spring is always exciting, but this season the 'wow" factor in the nation's capital goes up a notch with the 100th Celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on Saturday, April 14.
Always a must-see event with its spectacular array of lavish floats, marching bands, performers, giant helium balloons and other festivities heralding the arrival of spring, the Festival Parade this year will add another special highlight to its compendium of excitement: science and technology.
With famed NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin serving as Parade Grand Marshall, the USA Science & Engineering Festival hosted by Lockheed Martin (the nation's largest celebration of science and engineering) has been invited to enlist the assistance of science organizations, fans and the public in helping create dynamic costumes and displays for the parade's science-related floats and activities. To garner as much support as possible in this effort from schools, students, teachers, and professional entities representing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), we've turned the invitation into a contest for them.
Those 18 contestants submitting the best creative entries for STEM costumes or displays (such as marching with your robot) will win the opportunity to meet and march alongside in this historic parade with Buzz Aldrin (the second man to walk on the moon) and other personalities such as the Science & Engineering Festival's Mondo Spider, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, "Milli Mole" (the mascot of the American Chemical Society) and Life Technologies' "Dream Gene."
What's more, the parade will be nationally televised with an estimated audience of 72 million viewers and more than 120,000 spectators on site cheering the parade on as it makes its way down Constitution Avenue. This year's event is co-hosted by Katie Couric, with Alex Trebek serving as parade route correspondent. Other celebrities participating include Marie Osmond, and U.S. Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Benita Fitzgerald Mosely.
I'm inviting schools, teachers and STEM organizations not to miss the chance to submit their entries for this unique opportunity! Click here for more information.
And don't forget, that's not all the science excitement that will be occurring in Washington in April. The nation's capital will also be the site of the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo hosted by Lockheed Martin on April 28-29, 2012.
The Expo (a free event) -- with its world-class display of technology, innovators, science celebrities, best-selling authors, and entrepreneurs -- is designed to inspire the next generation of science and technology innovators through a fun and exciting weekend that allows kids and others to participate in over 2,500 interactive activities with leading scientists and engineers, and to see more than 150 live performances.
For more information on the Expo, visit: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/
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