Invited, but Ignored

We made it successful, in spite of an oversight. RAS was invited to Oak Knoll Middle School’s StemFest. We’ve attended this event a couple of times, but hadn’t it a few years because of the COVID shutdowns. And we’d always had telescope there for night viewing, but this year, the scheduled time was from 5-7pm, well before sundown. So, we switched over to solar viewing and set up just outside one of the side doors.

I went inside to see how people would know to come outside for viewing. All the other demo tables were set up inside the cafeteria, nowhere near our location. I had told the organizer beforehand that we were going to set up outside, so when I looked the layout map, I could see a big problem. We weren’t on the map. Big problem. Not only did people not know we were outside, if they happened to wander down the right hall, a sign for RAS was posted on an inside door.

After waiting outside for a while, with no-shows, I went back inside to see if they could make an announcement about our location. But, I couldn’t find my contact lady-it was a dead end.

I finally came up with an idea. We were only about 30 yards around the side of the building from the front entrance. I could pick up the telescope and move it to where it was visible from people walking in and out of the building. Where there also happened to be a food truck. That worked, and we got a few interested people to come over. Unfortunately, the whole process took a pretty good chunk of time, and over an hour had gone by. We did get to the Sun to about 20 people, and next time we’ll be a little smarter about how to go about our approach.

The event itself appeared to be a big success. I went inside a couple of times, and it was always crowded. Next year, we’ll get a lot more outside.