Flaming Lotus Girls’ Serpent Mother
A must for Beakerhead, don’t miss Flaming Lotus Girls’ Serpent Mother | Photo: Tristan Savatier


Calgary’s own smash up of art, science, and engineering set to ignite

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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Play a giant game of Snake and Ladders, take a workshop to learn how to make stuff easier, cooler, and better, or explore a gallery of engineered art—Beakerhead returns for year number five.

A spectacle of community engagement for all ages, Beakerhead brings together the arts and engineering sectors to build, engage, compete, and exhibit interactive works of art and entertainment.

With more than 60 distinct events (many of which are free), there’s something for everyone to explore. So what’s on our must-see list? Here are our picks for Beakerhead 2017:

Four to Six

September 13 – 15, 2017, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Stephen Avenue Walk (Between 1st St. & 3rd St. SW)

Explore three full blocks of open-air experimentation with this family-friendly take on the rush hour. Stretch your legs in an human-sized hamster wheel and check out science buskers alongside a cacophony of artists and performers—both human and machine.

Snakes and Ladders

September 13 – 17, 2017
Multiple locations
Free – $24.99

Explore Beakerhead through a series of 14 sites connected by a common theme—the ups and downs of the journey of invention. A Canada 150 celebration, at each site you can move on in one of two directions to follow a route through Calgary. Stops include Love in the Age of Machines at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta College of Art + Design, the Calgary Municipal Space Station at the Calgary Tower, and Up Against All Odds at McDougall Centre. Most sites are free to check out, but ticketed tour packages are available.

Serpent Mother

September 13 – 17, 2017
Fort Calgary (750 9th Ave. SE)

Part of the Snakes and Ladders program but also a must-see on its own, San Francisco’s Flaming Lotus Girls built this 168 foot long snake that produces 40 pillars of fire. The piece unfurls each day at 10:00am but the nightly fire shows are sure to be a hit.

Scent Bar

September 13 – 17, 2017
Former Chophouse Space (604 8th Ave. SW)

Not your average happy hour, join Ghost River Theatre as it takes over the former Chophouse Restaurant to create its pop-up Scent Bar. A blindfolded sensory performance experience based on our sense of smell, don’t miss the fourth instalment of GRT’s Six Senses Series designed to explore the imaginative potential of our senses.

Galleries of Engineered Art

September 13 – 17, 2017
Multiple locations
Free – $19.95

Go on a self-guided art tour or stop by one of the participating galleries. Including Oksana Kryzhanivska’s Metamorphosis at Herringer Kiss Gallery and the Bee Kingdom’s Inflatable Space Invasion at TELUS Spark.

Meet the Maker Tour

September 13, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW)

Meet the artists, engineers, and creative minds behind this year’s major Beakerhead installations. With six talks and six stops, each 10 minutes in duration, make sure you wear a pair of comfy walking shoes, the tour covers close to two kilometres.

Spectral Illuminations II

September 13, 2017, 8:00 – 11:00pm
Memorial Park Library (1221 2nd St. SW)

Presented by EMMEDIA Gallery and Production Society in partnership with the Calgary Public Library, the historic Memorial Park Library comes alive with site-specific projections that alter the appearance of the surface they are projected on to.

Puppet Pop-Up Studio: Beakerhead

September 16, 2017, 1:00 – 3:00pm
Fort Calgary’s Education Centre (750 9th Ave. SE)
$10 – $35

A family-centric workshop, create a quirky bottle puppet complete with its own foaming chemical reaction. A monthly puppet making workshop is geared towards ages four and up, this Beakerhead edition will blow you away. Children must participate with an adult.


September 16, 2017, 7:00 – 11:00pm
Fort Calgary & East Village River Walk
Admission by donation

Fire, lasers, light, and music make up science’s biggest street party—Beakernight returns with live performances, a beaker bar, demonstrations, installations, and so much more.

Beakerhead runs September 13 to 17, 2016 throughout Calgary. Head to beakerhead.com for the latest details and full schedule.