Tomfoolery on display at TekVenture celebration

March 18, 2019

Unlike other Irish-theme decorations dotting TekVenture on Sunday, the shamrocks painted on the floor were more than festive flair.

They created a path for the person operating the parade puppet during Tomfoolery at TekVenture, a St. Patrick’s Day open house featuring such family-friendly activities as kite making, Celtic coloring and fencing demonstrations.

Also offered were Irish stew, raisin scones, bangers and mash, soft drinks and water.

On a day often focused on alcohol, organizer Jeannette Jaquish said, “The families needed something to go to.”

About 60 people attended the afternoon event at TekVenture on Griffin Street, site of the former River City Complex just east of downtown.

Attendees could also learn more about the nonprofit. Members may use tools in six workshops including welding and metal working, electronics and robotics, and ceramics.

“The whole place is yours to make whatever you want,” said Chris Knipstein, TekVenture president.

Jaquish, a playwright, said she became involved upon learning the facility had a stage, on which children were allowed to play Sunday.

“It’s very hard to find a stage you can rehearse and perform on,” Jaquish said.

She described the monthly membership dues as affordable compared to what she paid elsewhere for rent and utilities.

“It’s just a matter of the people sharing the space,” Jaquish said.

On Sunday that included making room for the giant, red-headed walking puppet girl dressed in green. It dates back to at least 2002, when it was featured in a St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown.

The puppet’s operator can see only the floor, hence the need to paint shamrocks on the floor as a guide, Jaquish said.