Fab Lab Takes on Community Festival

On Saturday, April 28th from 11-3 p.m. there will be drinks, music, books, crafts, and a monstrous robot dinosaur all at the 23rd annual Spring on the Southside Community Festival. Jeff Boerner, director of the Fab Lab at Northampton Community College, beams with a somewhat anxious excitement when he mentions this busy event to me. The Fab Lab will have a tent in the parking lot of the festival grounds containing a myriad of science experiments and the ever-famous 14-foot tall robot dinosaur named Tobor. I detect a hint of distress in Boerner’s inflection, and with his next sentence, I can see why: “There are about 4,000 kids who showed up last year, ages 13-18.” He continues, almost superfluously, “It’s pretty hectic and chaotic.”

What to Expect

This specific part of the daylong festival is titled “Cops ‘N’ Kids Celebration of Reading,” as a dedication to the non-profit organization Cops ‘N’ Kids, located right here in Bethlehem. There will, of course, be books and readings, but in addition, Boerner notes that the Fab Lab will open their tent for art projects demonstrating fabrication processes, pictures with Tobor, and hand-molding experiments. The latter, Boerner explains, was a big hit with kids and parents alike in previous years. Kids can dip their hands into a base mixture of resin and silicon and come out with a perfectly molded hand cast. Boerner tells me that parents extol these molds, as they’re able to keep “a moment in time,” a “stand-still and freeze moment” of a precious memory with their kids.

Tobor and its’ creators. Photo credit: Jeffrey Boerner.

Tobor the massive robot dinosaur, a construction that Boerner notes is always popular, will also make an appearance. Dubbed the “icon” of the Fab Lab, Tobor has traveled cross-country to attend different fairs and events, and Boerner tells me even the president of NCC loves it. Kids can take pictures next to the beloved dinosaur and see it in action. This is a bittersweet outing for the robotic creature, as Boerner says that Tobor will be on hiatus after the festival until the new Fab Lab expansion is complete in a few months.

So get to the Spring on the Southside Community Festival for crafts, food, and books—before Tobor is gone!

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