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Playhouse BuildFest Brings Major Success to the High Country this Past Saturday

Playhouse BuildFest hit the High Country this past Saturday with its unique blend of playful, constructive chaos and leaders from Boone and Watauga County were there to welcome it. Presented by the High Country’s only children’s museum, The Children’s Playhouse, Playhouse BuildFest was held on Saturday, April 8th at Watauga High School. This free event was part of the 2017 North Carolina Science Festival.

Dignitaries in attendance to open Playhouse BuildFest were Chairman John Welch and County Commissioners Billy Kennedy and Larry Turnbow, Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz and Town Council members Lynne Mason and Loretta Clawson, Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott, Sunni Dearmin of BuildFest presenting sponsors Orthodontists and Pediatric Dentists Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Copley; Mitchell Silver and Tim Racz of major sponsor ECRS, Tara Stollenmaier of major sponsor Mast General Store, and Playhouse donor Marian Farris. Also pictured are Playhouse Executive Director Kathy Parham and Playhouse “graduate” Madelyn Ellis.

On April 4, the Watauga County Commissioners adopted a proclamation declaring April 8, “Watauga County Family S.T.E.A.M. Learning Day” in honor of BuildFest, noting that “the problem-solvers of the future—be they inventors, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs or artists–are nurtured by opportunities for hands-on play, experimentation, and discovery in childhood.”

Aimed at kids aged 2 to 12, Playhouse BuildFest offered over 50 hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities and engaging demonstrations, a Physics Demo Show, a giant Cardboard City, and a visit from a Boone fire engine. More than 1000 parents and kids attended the event which is now in its 4th year.

Six year old George Scott comes up every year from Cullowhee to attend BuildFest with his grandmother Connie Green who resides in Boone. Emily Scott, his mother, said he had trouble sleeping he was so excited about returning to the event. After it was over she asked him if it lived up to his expectations, he said, “No, it was even better!”

Organizations and individuals from both Appalachian State University and the Watauga County community served as activity partners by sponsoring and running various STEAM activities throughout the day. The event benefited from the help of 200 event volunteers, many participating in ASU’s Greek Day of Service.

As an official 2017 North Carolina Science Festival event, Playhouse BuildFest is among hundreds of community-based events that are showcasing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities for the citizens of North Carolina.

Founded in 2010, the North Carolina Science Festival is the first statewide science festival in the United States. Through a two-week series of community-based events each spring (hosted by schools, colleges, libraries, museums, parks, businesses and other local organizations), the Festival celebrates the economic, educational and cultural impact of science in North Carolina. For more information, visit www.ncsciencefestival.org.