Great Pumpkin Fest explores STEM

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published October 13, 2021

 The Great Pumpkin Fest at will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the South Campus of Macomb Community College in Warren.

The Great Pumpkin Fest at will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the South Campus of Macomb Community College in Warren.

Photo provided by Macomb Community College

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WARREN — With autumn in the air, it’s time for the Great Pumpkin Fest at Macomb Community College.

The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the college’s Sports and Expo Center on South Campus, located at 14500 12 Mile Road.

The free event will feature activities for people of all ages, including Mad Science of Detroit performances, discovery stations with STEM concepts, food trucks, and cider and doughnuts. The Great Pumpkin Fest also will get its country line dancing on with a performance by the college’s show choir, the Macombers.

Joel Frazee, known as Gigawatt on stage of Mad Science of Detroit, will perform STEM experiments for the crowd. Wearing a lab coat, Frazee will interact with the audience as they explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics together. There may even be a few clouds of smoke or a few flames in the act.

“The experiments are fun and exciting to see. We’ll be asking questions and finding answers,” Frazee said. “The adults have a good time.”

The Mad Science showtimes are 12:30 and 2 p.m. with general seating. The Fire and Ice show includes foggy dry ice storms, shivering scissors, bubbly showers and how giant beach balls can float in midair. Volunteers from the audience will also get a chance to taste a special “burp” potion.

Frazee always enjoyed theater and science, which brought him to Mad Science of Detroit. Many of the performers in the troupe are either professional actors, scientists or currently studying science. Mad Science of Detroit offers summer camps, school programs, at-home experiments, birthday parties and after-school programs.

“While learning, they always pick up something,” Frazee said. Or it could be the other way around. “They might know something I don’t know. One of my favorite things is when young ladies come up to me and ask, ‘Do you think I can be a scientist someday?’”

On Oct. 16, attendees also will have a chance to fly a drone through an obstacle course, make slime, learn about magnetism and electricity and more. Members of the college’s Center for Advanced Automotive Technology, or CAAT, will be present for many of the day’s events.

CAAT partners with industry, education, government, and professional organizations to support local economic development. Through these partnerships, CAAT identifies funding opportunities for the creation and adaptation of curricula in advanced automotive technology programs. Sherri Doherty, assistant director of communications for CAAT, said mini robot cars also will be on site. Event organizers are hopeful the event will inspire the kids who attend.

“We hope to start them on a path through high school and college,” Doherty said. “In terms of STEM, our goal is to expose them to it. A lot of them won’t know about it until they see it somewhere.”

Doherty also said that “it’s OK to fail” when trying out new scientific experiments.

CAAT works with local children on a regular basis. Representatives visit middle schools, provide career exploration, visit with Girl Scouts and hold summer camps.

At the Great Pumpkin Fest, there will be several raffles, including a 50/50 with proceeds benefiting the Macomb Student Immediate Relief Fund. The fund provides emergency assistance to students experiencing financial hardships.

Masks must be worn inside the Sports and Expo Center. For more information and to preregister for the Great Pumpkin Fest, visit www.macomb.edu/greatpumpkinfest.

For more information on Mad Science of Detroit, visit detroit.madscience.org.

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