Bedtime for our kids is 8. We start the routine some time after 7:30, and they’re in asleep sometime shortly after 8.
But there are exceptions. There was that one time Zacharie wanted to stay up until midnight. And they have managed to make it into the second half of evening sporting events that usually don’t start until almost bedtime. So the rule is there, but it is broken. Tonight was one of those nights.
The Maple Leaf Monster Jam was in town and I managed to scoop a couple of tickets for Zacharie and I from work. Usually I would have picked the Sunday afternoon show, but I’m not one to quibble when the tickets are free. The bonus of hitting the Saturday night Monster Jam show was being a few blocks away from Beakernight.
Beakerhead is my favourite Calgary festival of the year. It is a wonderful mashup of art and science that takes over the city for a week. Last year’s Raygun Gothic Rocketship was a huge hit with the boys, and this year Laser Cat and El Pulpo caught their attention in the show guide. Both would be appearing at Beakernight, a free event spread over two huge parking lots in Victoria Park. Because we were already breaking bedtime to hit up the Monster Jam, a walk through Beakernight would make things even better.
First up though, it was time to redneckognize and we were in Alberta at the Monster Jam. Zacharie’s a fan. The trucks are loud, they’re big, and … they’re loud. We would each cheer for different trucks for each competition and make little bets. Z loved seeing Grave Digger, I liked seeing El Toro Loco, and having a Spider-Man truck on the roster was a cool bonus.
We had fun, but left at half-time to walk the three blocks to Beakernight. Zacharie and I had wandered through the parking lots on our way to the Monster Jam and we had seen Laser Cat, Hippo Love, and El Pulp0 Mecanico in the daylight.
They were cool, and we couldn’t wait to get back to see them all lit up at night. First we checked out El Pulpo Mecanico, a car that is built to look like a huge mechanical octopus. It is a superstar at Burning Man and came to Calgary right after yet another appearance in the desert.
The octopus truck is set up next to a dj and the fire blasts out in time with the bass as controlled by a guy inside the 1973 Ford 250 4×4 that forms the vehicles base. It’s a very cool set up, and a highlight.
I, however, really liked Laser Cat .. Pew! Pew!
The Laser Cat is just a big bouncy castle with a laser set inside the eyes. Okay, not really a bouncy castle, but it is just a big air balloon with windows in the eyes that shoot fricking lasers, Mr Bigglesworth. As the EDM bass pounded across the grounds, Zacharie started dancing. Hard.
I was at a rave with my 7 yr old. Seriously. That’s what it felt like.
The Beakerhead event was free and open to everyone, but with a late start there weren’t too many kids there. Still, Zacharie got right into it. I tried to get video of him busting a move at the Laser Cat, but it was too dark for my phone. He just went nuts, it was awesome.
We then walked over to the other side of Beakernight and saw a peacock car, a garden gnome that shoots fire, small houses, twig houses, playgrounds, a huge discoball, and a sky crane.
All the while there were people in steampunk costumes, lasers, lights, and music pounding. It could have easily been a ticketed event selling alcohol and behind a huge gate. But it was free. It was open to everyone. And it was awesome.
Eventually we wandered back to El Pulp0 for one more view, and Zacharie felt the need to dance again. This time I had good light and I caught him giving it his 7 yr old all.
Best day ever.
As the clock ticked past 9:30 and we started back to the car, I asked Zacharie which part of the night he liked best. “Both, Daddy,” he beamed. “I love trucks, and I love to dance, and I got to do both tonight.”