Da Vinci Days has a new festival director and has announced plans for this year’s festival.
Carole Hobrock, a 20-year Corvallis resident with extensive experience in event management, sales and marketing, is in charge of the event, which is in year two of its revival.
The art, entertainment, science and engineering extravaganza, which hit its 25th anniversary in 2013, was dormant the next two years as organizers worked to reinvent the program.
Da Vinci Days returned last year with events in May and July, and this year’s program will mirror that. A series of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) lectures and an engineering expo will take place in May, and summer events, including the popular Graand Kinetic Challenge, are set for July.
In addition, organizers have booked the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies for a May 20 fundraiser at the LaSells Stewart Center. Tickets cost $45 and admission includes a drink ticket, appetizers and dessert. Reserve a spot at davincidays.org.
Last year’s key sponsors Benton County, Oregon State University and HP Inc. are back on board, with da Vinci Days officials planning a March 20 appearance before the Corvallis City Countil to request $15,000 from the city. In addition, da Vinci Days has received backing from Linn-Benton Community College for the May lecture series.
The May lectures will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn and The Arts Center. The bulk of last year’s lectures were at 2 Towns Ciderhouse, which made them de facto adult-only events.
“That was an oversight on our part,” said board President Chris Heuchert of Block 15 Brewing. “We want families to feel welcome.”
Heuchert noted that da Vinci Days organizers would like the lecture series to be more interactive, “but how they do that ultimately will be up to each speaker.”
Heuchert also said the festival is hoping to showcase some of the cutting-edge research coming out of OSU and HP, with HP’s Tim Weber, head of its 3-D printing group, set to be the keynote speaker in July.
The summer music lineup has not been nailed down yet, but Heuchert said that organizers once again would emphasize local talent. Last year’s festival included an ensemble from Linus Pauling Middle School.
All events save the Cherry Poppin Daddies fundraiser are free, a key goal of organizers. Attendance was approximately 2,000 in 2016, with Heuchert and Hobrock hoping for 4,000 to 5,000 this year.
“I’m excited,” Hobrock said. “Our board is phenomenal, very passionate and engaged. I have a lot to learn, and the board is doing everything they can to help me.”