Carnivals, as an idea, are often cotton candy-scented and scored by the sounds of a calliope, but they can take on many different characters and attributes.
They can even be places of learning. Look to the STEAM Carnival, which puts up the big top -- at least proverbially -- in the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26.
"STEAM," of course, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, and it is an acronym heard far and wide nowadays. (If you're into the "M" part of STEAM, perhaps you know, to the inch, how far and wide.)
Thus the STEAM Carnival promotes greater understanding and imagination in those expansive, education-rich areas, all of which are ready to be plumbed both by students and by those who are no longer in school but want to grow and grow and grow their brains.
Will there be traditional carnival stuff in San Pedro, the clowns and the calliopes? The merriment of the midway will be present, but "high-tech amusement and project-based kits" shall reign. This adds up to "challenging games" plus "workshops, contests, prizes" and other goodies that possess both the spirited vibe of the carnival and the mind-enriching awesome-a-tude of deepening one's science and art and engineering knowledge.
An adult Saturday ticket is twenty five bucks, while a student pays twenty.
And this is not at all to cock an eyebrow at the traditional carnival, which will remain, forever, a twinkly repository of whimsy, old-timey music, and tent-striped fun. But folding those core subjects into the carnival concept just works.
Because filling fun with skill-building prowess and idea-stokery is a not the opposite of fun, or outside of it. Living the STEAM dream is beyond fun, because it pairs creation with recreation.