STEAM festival expected to have countywide appeal

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day is March 2.

The annual San Diego Festival of Science & Engi­neering Expo Day on March 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is being held for the first time at Snapdragon Stadium, providing a full day of STEAM fun provided by hun­dreds of businesses, schools, libraries, and museums.

Admission is free to all and no registration is re­quired.

The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering aims to make learning fun for all ages by engaging kids and adults in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math education. The event also bolsters the region’s reputation of being a leader in the science industry and makes the most complex subjects simple and understandable.

Expo Day expands the general public’s understand­ing of the relevancy of STEAM in everyday lives and ignites the spark that will inspire a path to a STEAM career. It also breaks stereotypes of what STEAM ca­reers are and brings together enthusiasts of all back­grounds, cultures, neighborhoods, and ages to showcase how everything is intertwined in STEAM.

Expo Day Managing Director Sara Pagano said this event is open to families across the county and is nor­mally held at PETCO Park, but due some construction moved it to Snapdragon Stadium this year. Pagano said they are expecting more than 20,000 people to attend the festival this year.

“With the location at Snapdragon, MTS has an op­portunity for kids under 12 to ride for free with a paid parent or guardian, and they also have special passes for children between the ages 12-18 to ride for free, but they must sign up for that in advance,” she said.

Pagano said the event is for “PreK to grey” because families engage together in the entire festival experi­ence. She said there is parking onsite, and it is impor­tant for participants to know that Snapdragon has a clear bag policy, and it is also a cash-free facility.

Pagano said there is something for all ages, so when going to different booths, each will have activities geared towards different age demographics.

“We have a special area that is specific for PreK, so kids under the kindergarten age can go to a space just for them with activities just for their age group with special vendors and face painters,” she said. “We also have an area just for high school students, and this year that is new. It is called College Connections, and that is an opportunity for them to meet with different colleges and businesses that have STEM pathways that are here locally, throughout the state, and gives them a look into what college life will be. We will be having a panel of college students coming in at 2:30 p.m. to talk about what it is like transitioning from high school to college and things they need to know and think about during that transition.”

Pagano said throughout the day, it has more than 120 different hands-on activities geared for the K-12 age range.

“In addition to the activities we will have live main stages with performances throughout the day,” she said. “It is an opportunity for everyone. Especially the parents, it is such ˆa great day for families to engage in this learning opportunity to­gether. Many of the kids that at­tend will not have access to any of this through their schools. It provides them the opportunity to engage in activities that they normally do not have access to.”

Two main stages will offer a variety of performances. From math raps sung by The Mu­sic Notes to a Rainforest Res­cue from the Zovargo Animal Show, there is STEAM fun for everyone. Other notable events include a High-Temperature Fusion show from General Atomics, Ms. Smarty-Plants cooling the climate, an SD Mad Science-Fire & Ice performance, Fleet Science Center’s specta­cle: Don’t Try This at Home, a special STEMusic performance by Ron Moye, and a TEDxkids@ ELCajon presentation.

Pagano said the industry at-large needs exposure to both girls and boys, and diverse backgrounds as well.

“If we are going to continue to grow the industry, we need to grow the diversity that is taking this career path and going into these industries,” she said. “It is important for career exposure overall. This is something that the festival can represent. We have volunteers from all types of companies, diverse back­grounds. It is a unique oppor­tunity where children will come and be able to see someone that looks like them, may have a similar background, and they can share that experience and show how those folks got into the industry. Kids will be able to ask them these questions and it gives the opportunity to expose the diversity of the students in San Diego, and that it is possi­ble that these careers are reach­able for our students here.”

Pagano said another new ex­hibit this year is the Arts Pa­vilion.

“It will be a gallery styled space where many different folks are coming to share their art medium,” she said. “With­in that space we will have a special ‘huggable heart’ hang­ing from the ceiling that com­bines engineering and art. It is an interesting thing where art, technology and engineer­ing come together. In addition, in that space, we will have the volunteer group, The Mad Hat­ters showing people how to knit. They will be knitting caps for the NICU at Rady Children’s Hospital. There are some really special events that are new hap­pening this year, and it is defi­nitely a day that folks at any age can enjoy.”

All EXPO Day “Know Before You Go” tips and updates are listed at


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