Things to see and do at Beakerhead 2018

Calgary's annual science, arts and engineering festival, Beakerhead, is taking over the inner-city this weekend with interactive installations and events.

There are 12 installations and more than 60 Beakerhead events to choose from

The Dung Beetle, made entirely from recycled material, is just one of the sights that festival goers can take in at Beakerhead this weekend. It's located at SAIT. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Calgary's annual science, arts and engineering festival, Beakerhead, is taking over the inner-city this weekend with interactive installations and events.

Beakerhead co-founder Jay Ingram says the festival was born from the idea of marrying science, art and engineering in an immersive and entertain experience for Calgarians. 

"We want people to be delighted," he said. "We think if people are delighted and the have a good time, they'll start to make those connections between art, science and engineering, and they'll come back to see more."

This year there are 12 Beakerhead installations scattered around inner-city Calgary communities, as well as 60 Beakerhead events. The festival runs from Sept. 19 to 23. 

Here are a few highlights to check out:

Beakerhead co-founder Jay Ingram says the massive sparks flying between the two 32-foot towers will be the festival's biggest wow. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Sextant Tesla Coil 

Where: Fort Calgary

When: Wednesday - Friday: 3 – 9 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

What: Ingram describes the Tesla coil — made by a collaborative from California — as this year's "spectacular" installation. 

A six-metre spark will shoot between two, 11-metre towers in an interactive experience. 

Visitors can't get near the jolt of electricity, but they are invited to play keyboards that make the coil work. 

"In the past we've had propane and various guises and this year we're going for electricity instead of fossil fuel," said Ingram. 

Ingram says although the coil may appear dangerous, it's engineered in a way that someone could safely stand in a metallic cage and have sparks flying all around them.

"It's visually amazing," he said. 

The installation is named after Nikolas Tesla, who discovered the electric alternating current. 

Beakerhead does heed the following warning: "Those with pacemakers or other critical electromagnetic devices should not be in the area."

The augmented reality app, right, allows users to hunt for ingredients in Marda Loop needed for an experiment they can conduct with Lilly in. (Denise Genereux/CBC)

Lilly In The Lab

Where: Marda Loop, 33rd Avenue and 20th Street S.W.

When: Wednesday at 6 a.m. to Sunday at midnight

What: Lilly in the lab is a giant inflatable, a movie and an augmented reality experience run by Xstine Cook from the Calgary Animated Objects Society. 

Created in collaboration with the Bum Family  — Cook's three daughters and three nieces between the ages of eight and 16-years-old — Lilly in the lab is centered around Lilly, an orange monster based on a character from the Bum Family's films. 

The Bum Family makes a film every year based on the orange monster using cutout stop motion animation, and this year they wanted to bring Lilly to the 3D and virtual world. 

"We've created this giant inflatable of her and we also created and augmented reality application where you can hunt for ingredients for an experiment that she's conducting here in Marda Loop," said Cook. 

The Lilly In The Lab application is available for download on Google Play and the App Store.

The Treeter Totter is a metaphor for the human relationship with nature. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Treeter Totter

Where: C-Square, Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue S.E.

When: Sept. 19 - 23, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. 

What: The Treeter Totter is a giant teeter totter built in collaboration between local design company Dialog and construction company Stuart Olson. 

Robert Claibrone, design principal at Dialog says the giant teeter totter weighs 7,000 pounds, and is a metaphor for the human relationship with nature. 

"The harmony and balance of nature, and really our reaction to it, maybe in the way that it's an environment that we all share and maybe we can have an impact on the balance of nature," he said. 

Build your own organic facial oil

Where: Neal's Yard Remedies on Fourth, 2207 Fourth Street S.W.

When: Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m and 8:30 p.m.


• Go with 15 ml of organic, cold-pressed canola, hemp seed, flax or camelina oil.
• 10 ml emulsifier (Hydresia, a type of safflower milk, is used here). Note that the oil to water ratios are dependent on the emulsifier, but a ratio of 2:1 is pretty foolproof.
• 5 ml distilled/purified water.
• 3 drops frankincense (don't go over 10 drops).

Build your own organic facial oil with Beakerhead

4 years ago
Duration 1:36
Want to find a way to beat Calgary's dry climate? Why not create your own facial oil to beat those winter blues with help from Beakerhead.


Where: Pranic Forest, #1, 1145 Kensington Crescent N.W.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

Make a dinosaur bone out of chocolate with Beakerhead

4 years ago
Duration 1:30
The Royal Tyrrell Museum has teamed up with Kin+Pod chocolate at Beakerhead to check out the sweet side of paleontology.

If you'd like a guided tour of Beakerhead there are a few options available on their website

With files from Julie Prejet, Audrey Neveu and Monty Kruger


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