Hundreds of school children poured into the Bay Area Renaissance Festival today, enjoying everything from jugglers and musicians to jousting. Many were surprised to find robots there, too, but had a great time exploring a variety of simple machines and mechanisms at our table. One of our alumni students, home of Spring Break from the University of Florida, joined in the fun, sharing his mechanical LEGO adding machine with students, and a pneumatic LEGO backhoe. We also had some little robotics and some clockwork mechanisms, all of which got a good work out on our table.
We handed out a lot of FIRST literature to educators and parents, too. It’s surprising how many people still haven’t heard about FIRST robotics, but we’ll keep doing our part to keep spreading the word!
Especially when we have the opportunity to do it at cool places like the RenFest!
It’s time for the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, one of our favorite outreach efforts. This year, we’ll be out at the RenFest with our Renaissance Inventions display and FIRST informational materials during the Festival’s School Day on Friday. If you’re out there, drop by and see us!
On Saturday, we’ll be out in Orlando to run our robot at the FTC demo area, at the FRC Regional at the University of Central Florida.
Team Duct Tape members had a great time hosting a table during Inventors Weekend at the Renaissance Festival. As with last year, we drew a good crowd, had fun informating about FIRST robotics, and enjoyed the food and entertainment. The Bay Area Renaissance Festival remains one of the most successful and surprising far reaching of our outreach efforts, bringing FIRST to a large number of people who have never heard of it.
Mr. Tim Liss, Marketing director for the Festival, was very accommodating and supportive, both of Team Duct Tape and FIRST robotics, and gave us a great spot right by the front entrance, even indulging the trebuchet one of our team members brought along, which he’d built for a school project.
While we couldn’t bring along our competition robot (dust, electronics and gears just don’t mix, especially a week before the State Championship!), members did contribute their own collection of sumo robots that children (and a lot of adults!) could enjoy watching and driving.
One of the nicest moments was when one family came up to the table saying they remembered us from last year and came out especially to bring their little boy to see the robots, and to see about getting him involved in FIRST, now that he’s older.
I think it’s safe to say that the Bay Area Renaissance Festival remains one of our favorite, if somewhat anachronistic, FIRST outreach opportunities. We can’t wait to do it again next year!
We also generated a lot of enthusiasm (and some donations) for our duct tape creations that ranged from helmets and bracers, to roses and bracelets. (Special thanks to Ashley for gamely spending the afternoon crafting duct tape roses!)