Otley Science Festival has all the right elements to be a success

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Record-breaking crowds flocked to the gadgets-filled finale of Otley's fifth Science Festival.

The event's all-day Science Fair last Saturday saw budding boffins of all ages pack out Otley Courthouse to enjoy everything from programming robots around a maze to creating bicycle-powered smoothies.

The engineering intricacies of bridge-building were also demonstrated in the Courtyard, where children helped construct a full-scale Bailey bridge, while cupcakes representing the elements of the periodic table went down a treat.

Town mayor Councillor Mary Vickers (Lib Dem, Prince Henry) was among the visitors who also met 'Joseph Priestley', the discoverer of oxygen in the 18th century.

She said: “It was a fantastic day and it was really lovely to be there and see so many people out enjoying it.”

The week-long festival, which has included explosive demonstrations, 'Big Bug' school sessions – featuring tarantulas and scorpions – and several presentations by high-profile scientists, has been hailed a huge success.

The BBC's One Show's Marty Jopson, who helps organise and run the event, said: “It's been our fifth festival and we have had the best audiences so far. Nearly every event either sold out or was on the edge of capacity.

“Feedback from audiences has been very positive with everything, from the big- name speakers like Jim Al-Khalili to the more experimental events like Mathematics and the Nude, going down well.

“Events like the science fair, the science cafe and the school shows are becoming established in the Otley calendar, and it looks like science for toddlers and our science lunch are going the same way. It's a lot of hard work from all the volunteers but a huge amount of fun.”

The Courthouse's management committee vice- chairman, Hazel Costello, said: “It has been wonderful and we have been so busy. We're all really pleased.”

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