10 Beakerhead Events to Go to This Year

It’s an only-in-Calgary event that mashes together art, science, learning and good times. Beakerhead is September 18 to 22, 2019. Here’s what to expect.

From Beakerhead 2017. Photograph by David Kotsibie.

Beakerhead brings together artists, scientists, engineers and other players to create the amazing displays and events over five days. There is a good chance you might stumble across an installation or two that is sure to be instantly Instagram famous. But, if you prefer planning and don’t want to miss out on ticketed events (some are already sold out) we’ve narrowed your options down to 10 intriguing events. They range from free to somewhat expensive. There’s something for all ages and interests, even if you don’t think you are the type of person who would get excited about a weekend of science and engineering.

The main event

The Spectacle

This is the big party when all of the components of Beakerhead come together in one place for a nighttime celebration. This year, the party is at Prince’s Island Park and includes 20 installations, a cocktail bar, food trucks and more. Look for an interactive fire-breathing dragon, a giant banana that will broadcast your jokes and a Giant Lite Brite.

When: Saturday, 21, 5 to 11 p.m.
Where: Prince’s Island Park
Cost: Adults, $27.50; youth ages 13 to 18, $22.50; children 12 and younger, free

Free events

Community Beacons

You know Beakerhead is coming when you start to see events and installations pop-up around the city. This year, Enoch Park in Victoria Park (September 10 to 15), C-Square in East Village (September 13 to 22) and Marda Loop Shopping Plaza on 33 Avenue S.W. (September 14 to 20) are the sites of these early Beakerhead samples. In East Village, look for a Mayan Portal. In Marda Loop, look for large tentacles.

When: Monday, September 10 to Friday, September 20
Where: Victoria Park, East Village and Marda Loop
Cost: Free


Spectral Illuminations IV

This event is all about projection art. Head down to Central Memorial Library and explore this sandstone building for this one night only event. Presented by EMMEDIA, this event brings together artists and your own imagination. Grab some friends and explore this imaginative event.

When: Friday, September 20, 8 to 11 p.m.
Where: Central Memorial Library, 1221 2 St S.W.
Cost: Free


Science Library Takeover

For Science Literacy Week, the University of Calgary Science Faculty is hosting the Science Library Takeover at the Central Library. There will be live demonstrations and hands-on activities for kids and adults throughout the day.

When: Saturday, September 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 800 3 St S.E.
Cost: Free

Events less than $50

Locked Library

The Locked Library turns the Central Library into a really big escape room with a science fiction theme. You have two hours to work through the riddles and clues.

When: Friday, September 20, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 800 3 St S.E.
Cost: $42


Road Trip to the Universe

This mainstay event is for all you space lovers. Located in the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, this is a night event, so you can get a clear view of the stars. Get settled in for talks on matter and antimatter, take a look through the telescope and escape the busy city to get a clear view of the universe above us.

When: Friday, September 20, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Where: Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, 210 Avenue W, Hwy 22 S
Cost: $30 per car


The Lost Hours

The Lost Hours is a visual performance based on the theories of space and dimension by Salvador Dali. Created and performed by 8ROJO, the Calgary-based performance art group brings to life Dali’s theories, troubled childhood and walk to death in this performance. The group based this performance off Salvador Dali and his sister Ana Maria’s memoirs.

When: Wednesday, September 18 to Sunday, September 22
Where: Arts Common, 205 8 Ave S.E.
Cost: $17.50


Events less than $100

Green Your Thumb

For those who love to garden, this is the event for you. This workshop takes you through how to care for carnivorous plants, such as Venus Fly Traps and Sundews. Learn how you can keep a carnivorous plant in your house, once that’s done you can take home your new houseplant. This event is spearheaded by Plant.

When: Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Plant, 1327 9 Ave S.E.
Cost: $70

Lunch Without Light

This lunch is exactly what it sounds like, eating in the dark. It is hosted at Dark Table, a restaurant where all the servers have some form of sight impairment. This experience is made to be a sensory experience. Beakerhead co-founder Jay Ingram and Dr. Jaideep Bains from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary are there to help lead those involved through sensory-depravation lunch.

When: Wednesday, September 18, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Dark Table, 731 6 Avenue S.W.
Cost: $62.50

Cocktails on Canvas

We all love a good cocktail once in a while, or a beer. Well, have you ever wondered what your favourite drink or liquor looks like under a microscope? This paint night led by Doro Buch does just that with a fusion of science and art. Look at some gin, prosecco or even an IPA on a microscopic level. Once you’ve done that, paint it on your canvas. One drink is included in the cost for this event so make sure you pick the drink you think will be the most interesting to paint.

When: Thursday, September 19, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Contemporary Calgary, 701 11 St S.W.
Cost: $70

For more information and tickets to these and other Beakerhead events, visit beakerhead.com

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