COSI chief has big plans for new science festival — and they involve Dayton

If Frederic Bertley's vision comes true, COSI's Science Festival will reach Dayton in the future.

But for now and the foreseeable future, Bertley — the science museum’s President and Chief Executive Officer — said the new festival set to be held in 2019 will be concentrated in and around the Columbus area.

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But Bertley, who came to the  Columbus science museum in in 2017 from Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, has big dreams and big plans for the Buckeye State.

If the new festival is successful in Columbus, Bertley said he would like to see it roll out to Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati, then continue to expand around the state.

“My dream is to literally have a science festival in all 88 counties,” Bertley said. “It is a heavy lift to do something like this statewide.”

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If the festival expands statewide — something Bertley says he is committed to trying to do  — COSI would partner with universities, museums and other institutions in different communities.

Credit: Robb McCormick Photography

Credit: Robb McCormick Photography

The inaugural four-day festival patterned after the Philadelphia Science Festival will showcase science around central Ohio.

It is set for May 1-4, 2019 and will conclude with a hands-on, day-long carnival-style celebration on the Scioto Peninsula outside COSI.

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About 30,000 people are expected to attend the carnival. It will be open to anyone who wants to attend.

Bertley said it will not be a grab-a-brochure-and-go kind of event. Each vendor will have a hands-on activities.

Why a science festival?

“This state and this country is growing more and more science illiterate,” Bertley said.

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He said he'd like to erase the conception that science is for geeks with lab coats and thick glasses.
There should be as much love and support for scientists as there is for celebrities. And the inventor of the cell phone should be as widely known as athletes and stars, Bertley said.

“Science is for everyone,” he said. “Everyone from the womb to the tomb.”

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