Daddy Fest! sparks curiosity

Courtesy of Ashley Hein

India Giudici, a visitor technician and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics educator at the Durango Discovery Museum, and board member Marc Masor have fun exploring the innards of bugs with visitors at Daddy Fest!, held June 15 in downtown Durango. The event was a benefit for the museum.

Moms get chocolates, flowers, meals out and mushy cards on their big day, but most dads are happy to receive some grilling equipment or perhaps a nice tie on theirs.

The folk at the Durango Discovery Museum noticed the disparity nine years ago and saw both an opportunity to honor the fathers among us and raise some much-needed funding. This year’s Daddy Fest!, held June 15, attracted about 6,000 people and added $32,000 to the museum’s coffers.

Raising $32,000 doesn’t happen without the help of generous sponsors, and Carver Brewing Co. continued in its role of Sugar Daddy, this year, of course, dedicated to the memory of Peter Carver, who died in an avalanche at the beginning of February. For the first time ever, McDonald’s signed on as a sponsor, which seems like a great fit, and Mercy Regional Medical Center, FASTSIGNS, KRSJ-FM (100.5) and United Pipeline were the other main sponsors, but many businesses and individuals sponsored individual activities as well.

Jeff Moorehead served as the music coordinator, providing the most varied music lineup ever, including Grupo Ruito, a Jazz Sermon by the Jazz Church, Flume Canyon, Papa Otis and the headliners, The Mossers.

There was so much going on, people had to pick up the brochure to make sure they didn’t miss anything going on in the 20-ring circus that is Daddy Fest!

On a hot summer day, nothing’s more refreshing than getting wet, and lots of visitors at Daddy Fest! dove into the Wet Zone, expanded this year to include a Slip ’n’ Slide, a dunk tank and a few other attractions. StoneAge WaterBlast Tools was the perfect sponsor for that attraction.

Because it was a Discovery Museum event, there was a lot of hands-on fun and exploration to be had. You could play on the Imagination Playground, sponsored by United Pipeline, including an engineering competition; build whatever you could imagine at the Lego tent; stop by Garden Sprouts, sponsored by Pediatric Associates, to dissect seeds and make seed bombs; make mini-robots at a booth sponsored by First National Bank of Durango; pan for gold thanks to Durango Diggers; play with stomp rockets courtesy of longtime museum supporter Wallace Short; and enjoy assorted bouncy castle, face painting and so on.

You can’t do all that playing without food and fluids. Carver’s provided chicken tinga, southwestern quinoa and beef tacos, the museum’s own Powerhouse Eatery and Libation food cart served up its gourmet hot dogs, Zia Taqueria prepared its Mexican food, both Baskin-Robbins and Durango’s new Cream Bean Berry scooped ice cream and Sno-Cones, sponsored by Ensignal/Verizon Wireless, made every dad feel like a kid.

In addition to scads of volunteers, the Discovery Museum has a bumper crop of interns this year, including Katie Dudley, she of a perfect ACT score and a Boettcher Scholarship fame, who is the first cohort to complete its Science Career Lab Program by climbing all the steps of the ladder. The interns, who number 18 this year, up from eight last year, are participating in a program sponsored by Chevron and designed after a similar program at the New York Hall of Science. Many of them were on hand to help with the festivities.

The event dovetailed perfectly with another “guy” kind of event – the Durango Motor Expo, so no complaints of boredom could be heard.

I was off catching up with my classmates from the Durango High School Class of 1973 during Daddy Fest!, so my thanks go to Ashley Hein, events guru at the museum, for giving me the scoop. After suffering some angst, I have had to finally accept that your 40th reunion means you’re middle-aged and rapidly approaching senior citizenhood. Sigh.

Thanks to all my classmates who worked so hard to organize the festivities, and to those whose donations made it free so it was affordable to all.

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Celebrating the last of the June and the first of the July birthdays are Megan Cole, Aaron Unterreiner, Mary Irby, Joe Potter, Daphne Cahill, Jan Nesset, Loris Rank, Russ Turpin, Clark Kepple, Jill Wiegert, Lucy Martinez, Mary Roberts, Hannah Buck, Brian Van Mols, Kayte Barnes, Suzanne Zerbe, Mary Santistevan, Sally Silva, Marv Dworkin, Jessica Miller, Deck Shaline, Buster Weahkee Jr., Maria Koller, Melanie Mazur, Matt Bracewell, Moni Grushkin, Joyce Wood, Gloria Cherry, Ava Rose McClellan, Pat Demarest, Sharon Wiebel, Mac Curtis, David Downs, Tanner Smith, Karyn Gabaldon, Susan McKinney, Niles Bruno, Rosemary Ennis, Jackie DiSanto, Deborah Miller, Leslie Wigley, Claudia Dea, Peggy Zemach and Pat Fichera.

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It’s usually only in the movies that fireworks burst across the sky as lovers kiss, but when your anniversary falls around the Fourth of July, all bets are off. Happy anniversary greetings go to John and Shanna Stordahl, John and Louise Grayson, Carl and Shelly Hotter, Joe and Peggy Herrera, Tony and Nancy Stohl, Peter and Kelly Cunnion, Jerry and Joyce Wood, James and Tina Trump, Brad and Susan Stamets, Steve and Tamra Lavengood, Charles and Ann Karnes, David and Anna Marie Bishop and Dan and Robin Goldman.

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This coming week is my summer vacation, so Neighbors will return July 10. Keep having fun and telling me about it, though, because there is always space to fill.

Happy Fourth of July to one and all. Let freedom ring!

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Here’s how to reach me:; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.

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