By Joseph De Mond | Contributor
Anyone driving down University Parks drive in downtown Waco on Oct. 2 was in for a surprise as businesses and artists filled the streets. The Waco Cultural Arts fest took place from Friday, Sept. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 2 on University Parks Drive.
The Waco Cultural Arts Fest offered a wide array of smaller festivals that celebrated the city. Exhibits in art, music, film, literature and science were headliners in an event featuring professionals and novices alike who are located in Waco. Among one of these smaller festivals was the Sciencefest, filled with booths and entertainment from the Mayborn Museum, Waco Mammoth National Monument, Austin Bike Zoo, and many more.
Attendees were surrounded by a 6-foot tall animatronic Stegosaurus on one side of the hallway brought in by the Mayborn Museum and a Baja racecar from Baylor Society of Automotive Engineers on the other. The two machines marked the entrance to the Sciencefest held inside the Waco Convention Center.
The Mayborn Museum table in particular had a lot of traffic. Children were constantly standing in awe, observing neatly lined fossils with pictures explaining their Texas roots. Parents stood ready with cameras as children played with the dinosaur. Mayborn showed their “hands on interactive learning” displays readily available for the public in brochures and fliers for their newest exhibit: the National Geographic Sacred Journeys.
Among the unique displays were bicycles sporting intricate designs such as feathers and wings, and they were made available for anyone who wished to ride them. The Austin Bike Zoo offered up a new way to interest people in wildlife by letting them ride on the backs of animals. One of the bikes was a snow owl with brilliant, shiny white wings and large eyes. One young girl’s face who rode one of the bicycles mirrored the enjoyment many Wacoans felt during a cool and sunny, action-packed weekend.
The people of Waco every year join together and try to make the Waco Cultural Arts Fest represent all the different opportunities Waco has to offer.
“It’s kind of cool to see all the things you didn’t know Waco had,” Jenn Warren, a local volunteer, said.
The festival offered the chance for Baylor teachers and students to intermingle with the crowds and people from all over Texas. Thom Woodruff, an Austin native, was asked to lead a poetry workshop as one of the last events of the festival. He offered printouts of a few of his published poems detailing the human experience with the modern world as he lectured Waco poets about utilizing the metaphor. He had a chance to witness regular volunteers assemble a beautiful display of local businesses, food, and art all offered in Waco.
“Waco allows you to collaborate and work in it,” Woodruff said. “More than just words.”
It was action from volunteers that lead to a jam-packed weekend of performance and lively displays not to be missed next year.