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July 2000

NCAR and UCAR celebrate their 40th

A buoyant affair

Swaying to the pulse of the breeze, this remarkably lifelike creature welcomed visitors to the Bubble and Balloon Festival. (Photos by Carlye Calvin.)

One of Peter Davison's young fans picks up where the juggler left off.

NCAR's Bubble and Balloon Festival was a smash hit. The Father's Day event lured throngs of visitors to the Mesa Lab: an estimated 5,000 were on hand, enough to fill the ML parking lot and then some. Kids and their parents crisscrossed the tree plaza, making bubbles, learning about the Bernoulli effect, or watching juggler Peter Davison, alumnus of Boulder's well-known Airjazz ensemble. Inside the lab, people toured the exhibits and checked out the half-hour performances of Casey Carle's Bubblemania (see photo at right). The self-proclaimed "bubbleman," who performs 250 shows a year, created bubbles within bubbles and even set a bubble aflame (don't try it at home). The new NCAR Science Store did brisk business at its main ML lobby site and a special tree-plaza location. With NCAR sounding units in the field for STEPS (see the article in this issue), the National Weather Service launched its own weather balloons from the ML parking lot. There, and on the fountain plaza, giant balloon sculptures from Fast Lane Productions greeted visitors. "I am really thrilled with the way the Bubble and Balloon Festival turned out," says organizer Linda Carbone (ISS). "When the 40th Anniversary Committee first met, we knew that we wanted one event in the 40th activities that would be fun for the staff and their families and draw the community into NCAR and UCAR's celebration. I think that we did that with the festival." Linda's claim is backed up by comments posted by visitors at the feedback kiosk in the new exhibit. Among the postings: "Cool! My mom did the color swirls." "It was a great gift for Father's Day. He had fun!" "This is about the 5th or 6th time I've been here, and I like it more every time I come."