Participants at Thursday's Geek Fest, hosted by Marcia Cohen, Janet and Bob Barnhill, and Harley Brooke-Hitching (on whose land the event will be held) are encouraged to dress up as their inner geek, but warned to wear sturdy shoes, a jacket and bug spray as the festival is held outdoors.
The event will be held along the river, just off the Ophir Road (a half-mile past the Ophir post office, stop when you see the unmistakable "Pinhead Man"). Dinner and cocktails will be served around a roaring bonfire and the Anders Brothers Band will provide the music, with a dance floor available for all your best moves. The highlight of the evening will be the opportunity for attendees to mingle with real live geeks scientists from the Telluride Science Research Center, appropriately dressed in impeccably white lab coats.
One hundred percent of the funds raised at Geek Fest will go to the Pinhead Institute, Colorado's first Smithsonian Affiliate. The Pinheads offer a variety of educational programs to expand bioliteracy not only in the region, but worldwide from community programs focusing on educating people about the natural world in our region of the San Juans, to participating in the National Museum of Natural History's Encyclopedia of Life.
Programs for students in grades kindergarten through 12 include the Biodiversity Monitoring Project, in which children learn about scientific data collection, analysis techniques, and scientific concepts and principles. Pinhead's Scholars in the Schools brings internationally renowned scientists to lead labs, workshops and field expeditions for the Biodiversity Project students.
As successful as Pinhead is in bringing scientists to Telluride to educate children, the organization puts similar effort into sending kids out of the valley for real-world experiences. Through its internship program, Pinhead has sent students from Telluride, Norwood, Nucla and Ouray to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Ruhr-Universitaet in Bochum, Germany, among other locales.
"I feel empowered to take my experience and use it to jumpstart my career studying human behavior," said Nicole James, a 2005 graduate of Ouray High School who interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Artic Archaeology Department in 2005. "I have received much more than I gave and I have been transformed into a student that has a definite map of where I want to go and be. The experience and knowledge that I have gained from my internship are irreplaceable…"
Pinhead's community programs include the popular Pinhead Town Talk Series held every summer featuring lectures by leading scientists in their fields. Through August, the free talks are held every Tuesday evening, 6-7:15 p.m. at the Conference Center in Mountain Village. Pinhead also hosts an annual Bear Creek Land Stewardship course in collaboration with the Town of Telluride, and a Telluride Unearthed lecture series held in collaboration with the Telluride Historical Museum.
Geek Fest passes are on sale now for $100 per person, or buy a "periodic table" that seats ten for $1,500. Passes are available online at www.tellurideticket.com, or by sending a check made out to Pinhead Institute to PO Box 2429, Telluride, CO, 81435. Passes can be picked up at the entrance to the festival.
For more information, call 708-0004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.