The 25th Annual da Vinci Days event went off without a hitch, despite word traveling that a lot of locals were skipping it for various reasons, such as the high price of entry, and complaints of a lack of changes from year to year. This year, new changes were especially hard to execute with the unexpected early departure of Executive Director Nicole Beachboard-Dodson in February. And although attendance did seem a little sparse to me, we were told not to expected final calculations for another few weeks.
Regardless, all I can say is that the offerings were diverse, fun and the whole spectacle was well executed. It was a great example of Corvallis’ capabilities, and truly created an amalgam of art and science that lived up to the da Vinci name.
The Grand Kinetic Challenge was especially great fun to watch and the driver/builders were all having a blast. When they paraded down Monroe St., the kids and adults alike went wild. I will say, the dune race, which featured the kinetic sculptures attempting, mostly in vain, to ride up and down a steep and short hill, was not one of the strongest parts. Next year they may want to consider doing away with this portion, or altering it to be a bit more… doable.
The big winners in the Challenge were Racing Bird, Athlete’s Foot and Hell on Wheels, who all brought home prizes for pageantry, engineering and artistry. The fastest car in the challenge was Paddy Wagon, and the Fan Favorite award went to Way of the Dinosaur, my personal favorite.
The other events were also lively and well organized. The bands played, the food was good, the art was great, on the sidewalks and in motion, the science departments of OSU showed off their research and everybody got a little bit smarter.
Next year, with a fully dedicated Executive Director at the helm and a referendum for change, I expect da Vinci Days to reach new heights and bring back former fans turned skeptics.
By Ygal Kaufman