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Silly Science Sunday brings educational fun downtown

If you go …

WHAT: Silly Science Sunday

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology in Central Square, downtown Youngstown

HOW MUCH: Admission is free. For more information, go to ohwowkids.org or call 330-744-5914.

YOUNGSTOWN — After a year that’s been anything but silly, OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology is bringing back Silly Science Sunday.

Due to COVID-19, OH WOW! was forced last year to create take-home kits for the annual celebration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STREAM (adding reading and art) education. This year it returns as an in-person event with a few changes.

“We ended up renting more tents than we have in the past and there’s more exhibits outside,” said Colleen Ruby, director of visitor services. “We’ll only have two or three in house this year, so there won’t be nearly as many inside.”

Outdoor activities will take place on Central Square and West Federal Street between Phelps Street and Federal Plaza.

OH WOW! will require face masks for anyone ages 5 and older inside the building, and masks and social distancing are recommended for both indoor and outdoor activities.

The center will have a vat of oobleck (a water and cornstarch mixture) that children can try to walk / run across before sinking and demonstrations of marshmallow catapults and showing how rubber bands can be used to make watermelons explode.

Area high school robotics teams will have their robots on display and give demonstrations. The Butler Institute of American Art and SMARTS will teach participants how to create art using centrifugal force. Mill Creek MetroParks will have a portable erosion table. The YWCA will have a STEM obstacle course, and the Melnick Medical Museum will show the importance of washing hands, Ruby said.

Other exhibitors include Youngstown State University College of STEM, Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Solar Education Project, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, America Makes, MCCTC, Valley STEM, ASECU, BRITE Energy Innovators, Green Team, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, TCTC, ClarkDietrich and City Machine Technologies.

“Our tried-and-true friends will be here again with new and exciting experiences and hands-on demonstrations, and we’ll have new friends joining us,” Ruby said.

The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition will have a tent for the first time to share information about different career opportunities.

“Part of the festival is to promote, if you’re interested in these types of things, you might enjoy a career in STEM,” Ruby said.

Organizers aren’t sure what to expect attendance-wise this year. In the past, Silly Science Sunday has attracted as many as 5,000 people for the free event. Ruby said they are expecting about 3,000 this year.

It’s not only the virus in the air, but what’s in the sky that affects attendance.

“We’re hoping for beautiful weather,” Ruby said. “I don’t want to jinx us, but I’ve been here 10 years, and it’s been beautiful every year. One year it was windy, but otherwise it’s been beautiful.”

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