The first ever, state-wide Virginia Science Festival will make its debut in Blacksburg on Saturday, Oct. 4. 

Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and Stephen Jurcyzk, director of NASA Langley Research Center, will preside over the opening ceremony for the statewide event at 9:45 a.m. at the Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall.

Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are the honorary festival chairpersons.

The festival, which runs from Oct. 4 through 11, will feature events in more than a dozen communities across the state. Events will be held in Arlington, Danville, Hampton Roads, Grundy, Richmond, Roanoke, and Blacksburg to highlight Virginia’s growing influence as a hub of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics research and education.

A full list of events and locations can be found at the festival web page.

The festival's two signature days will be Saturday, Oct. 4 with the opening in Blacksburg and Saturday, Oct. 11, a day that will feature activities in Roanoke at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, a STEAM trail, the WDBJ-7 Weatherfest, robot demonstrations, and the inaugural U.S. Pea Shooting Championships.

Many of the events held on Oct. 4 in Blacksburg will be located at the Moss Arts Center and will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The weekend of Oct. 4 is also Family Weekend at Virginia Tech.

Exhibits will also be located on the university's Drillfield, Derring Hall (1405 Perry Street), Davidson Hall (1040 Drillfield Drive), the Inn at Virginia Tech (901 Prices Fork Road), the Ware Lab (320 Stanger Street), Seitz Hall (155 Ag Quad Lane), the Blacksburg Nature Center at historic Price House, and the Blacksburg Children’s Museum.

On Oct. 11, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute will offer tours of the facility with hands-on activities and displays of 3D imaging technology, a demonstration of using the human mind to control a robotic vehicle, electric fish, meet the scientists, and cameos by Grayton the Wonder Dog, a pioneering pooch in cancer research. Shuttles will run from the Market Square events in downtown Roanoke to the institute throughout the day.

Other notable events include:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 7, 3 to 6 p.m.: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Open House. Visitors will be able to take a 15-30 minute facility tour and ride on Virginia’s Smart Road.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m.: Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Panel Discussion: The Science in Science Fiction: An Evening with Authors and Scientists. Guests can talk with scientists and authors on how science has influenced science fiction and vice versa and how science fiction continues to inspire discovery.
  • Oct. 7-11: Radford University Planetarium Show at Reed/Curie Hall Room B43. Oct. 7 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Space is limited. A full list of Radford University events is available on the festival web page.
  • Editor's note: this event will now be held on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology Sensory Laboratory Open House. Human and Agricultural Sciences Building 1 (1230 Washington Street SW). Activities include the Spice Rack Aroma Challenge, the Sweet Smell of Success, and Food Fears. Visitors can taste food and see how the human face responds while food is tasted.

The festival was made possible in part through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, Virginia Tech, and through the contributions of sponsors including Appalachian Power.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.