STEM-based Science Festival drew 25,000-30,000 to COSI, director says

After more than two years as a digital event, the Center of Science and Industry’s annual Science Festival returned to an in-person format May 4-7.

The four-day event at COSI, 333 W Broad St. in Columbus, drew anywhere from 25,000-30,000 people, according to COSI director Frederic Bertley.

The event, which bills itself as the “largest STEM event in the Midwest,” featured more than 100 exhibitors outside the COSI building, all showcasing STEM areas of discipline – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to the public in subjects ranging from academics to pharmaceuticals to zoology.

The inaugural event was held in 2019.

“To bring it back in person, especially after people have been cooped up because of the pandemic, it was so much fun,” Bertley said. “It was so exciting to see so many people.”

Attendees of COSI's Big Science Celebration, the culmination of the museum's Science Festival, were treated to a demonstration of elephant toothpaste.  Local celebrities, with the help of COSI educators, mixed hydrogen peroxide with soap, dry yeast, water and food coloring to create a dazzling explosion of color during the opening ceremonies May 7.

Coming off a two-year hiatus for an in-person festival, he said, festival organizers focused on incorporating digital elements from the past couple of festivals into the year’s exhibits.

“There were some great digital resources that people could take from each tent and each space,” he said. “If you wanted to continue your learning or continue your experience, we made sure you had some free accessible web resources from every single tent.”

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