Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

David Letterman announced his pending retirement this past week.  Here is a photo I found online of what he looked like as a Freshman at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, Indiana - in 1962 - the year that the Sputnik IV space debris crash-landed in Manitowoc. 

And in honor of David Letterman, here are the -  

Top  Ten Reasons to Attend Sputnikfest 2014

10.  Lots of free children's activities.  For example, kids get to make a toy spaceship, robot, or raygun.

9.  Get up close and personal with Elvis AND Star Wars characters at the same venue.

8.  Lots of free entertainment on the main stage - watch the Alien Pet Contest and the Miss Space Debris Pageant.

7.  Enjoy great music - also on the main stage and also free.

6. See the historically accurate (sort of ... a little bit ... okay, not-so-much) re-enactment of the launch and re-entry of Sputnik IV.

5. See people (and statues) in aluminum foil hats - and Aliens.

4. Sample an out-of-this-world assortment of edible delights.

3. Shop hand-crafted artwork from local artisans or a unique assortment of Sputnikfest merchandise, including limited edition posters by Tina Kugler.

1. Have your picture taken near the brass ring that marks the Sputnik IV impact site - without having to dodge traffic.  

See you on September 6.  Planet Terry.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In an effort to keep things new and fresh and exciting, Sputnikfest 2014 will feature some changes from prior years - hopefully all positive and all in the spirit of wacky, tacky fun.
Some Sputnikfest events will be put on hiatus, some will be changed up a bit, and there will be some entirely new events.
Gone for 2014: The Cosmic Cake Contest.  For those of you who look forward to this event each year - please find another creative outlet at Sputnikfest this year.  There are a lot of opportunities to get involved and exercise your creative talents.

NEW EVENT for 2014!  A Cardboard Spaceship Downhill Derby!  At an organizational meeting we were brainstorming ideas for new events - and realized we have a nice long downhill stretch of street, on the South side of the Sputnikfest grounds, which really has been underutilized in past events.  We decided to start a downhill derby event - kind of similar to a soapbox derby - with a "Crash Your Own Sputnik" theme.  The exact logistics and rules for the event are still being worked out and will be posted here at a later date - but this event has a lot of exciting potential and I wanted to get it out there asap to get some of you at least thinking about putting together an entry.  The entry fee will be minimal.  We are
looking for cardboard home-made spaceships on rolling human powered chassis.  Prizes will be awarded for creativity and for best downhill time - with the spaceships "soft landing" in bales of hay at the downhill end of the street.  

Keep checking back for more details on this year's Sputnikfest - and see you here in Manitowoc on September 6, 2014!  Planet Terry

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sputnikfest - Against the Odds ...

Kosmos-1220 was launched into orbit in November 1980 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which was then part of the Soviet Union - and is the same launch site for Sputnik IV (of Sputnikfest fame.)  Its mission as part of the Soviet naval missile targeting system ended in 1982. 

The Russian Defense Ministry says the satellite burned up in the atmosphere at about 17:58 Moscow time (13:58 GMT) on February 16.  Prior to the fall of the satellite, British gambling giant Ladbrokes, gave odds on likely crash sites for the satellite, for instance: 2 to 1 odds that it to land in the Pacific Ocean and 10 to 1 that it would hit Europe.  

As of right now, I am a little unsure of exactly where it did end up.  While some sources are saying the satellite burned up on re-entry, other stories are saying it crashed to earth in northern Saudi Arabia.  All this more than 50 years after Sputnik IV made landfall in Manitowoc, Wisconsin - but after all that time, in some ways - not much has changed.  Then and now, pinpointing exact trajectories of space debris re-entering the atmosphere is extremely difficult. 

A story in the April-June 1963 Civil Service Journal titled "Death of Sputnik IV: Main Street U.S.A."  describes how unlikely it is for a fragment of a falling satellite to be recovered, as "four-fifths of the earth's surface is water" and "of the one-fifth that is land, a large proportion is behind the Iron Curtain.  Then too, a large part of the Free World land is uninhabited, forested, mountainous, etc."  

Successful recovery of a satellite fragment requires first that it survive the fiery plunge through the Earth's atmosphere and then be recognized for what it was after it does impact the earth.  This nearly didn't happen with Sputnik IV - as the two Manitowoc Policemen credited with the discovery in 1964 initially believed the item to be scrap metal from a local foundry and simply moved the 20-pound chunk of metal to the curb to keep it out of traffic. 

I wonder what odds Ladbrokes would give for a satellite fragment landing in Manitowoc Wisconsin - nearly on the center line of a street running right past a musuem? 

Sputnikfest.  Defy the odds.  Join us on on September 6, 2014.  Planet Terry

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Sputnikfest always features a unique assortment of vendors - and I'd like to introduce you to
someone we have lined up for this year - Spindrift Spray Paint Art by Steven Baughman.

Steven says he has been "into art since I could hold my first Crayola Crayon."   He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and has studied traditional oil/acrylic painting, drawing, art history and commercial art.  Steven has held many different positions in the commercial art arena, but says most of that stuff is done on computers these days and he enjoys “getting my hands dirty” with his current spray paint venture.
Steven still finds it "cool and amazing" that "people seem to like my
paintings" - and pay money for them!  He tries to keep his prices reasonable "none of those $700, $800, $900 paintings you might see at other art shows" - most of his stuff is in the $50-$60 range for finished matted and framed pieces.  (very cool!)

He sells unframed pieces for a little as $25, hand-painted greeting cards for $5, bookmarks for $3, and hand-painted paperweights he calls “Moon Rocks” for $5 - $8 each.  A pretty good deal considering that all his works are originals - he doesn't do any copies or prints. 

Steven enjoys painting a variety of different subjects, but admits to being "a bit of a sy-fy space geek" and being inspired by classic movies like Forbidden Planet, When Worlds Collide, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, The Time Machine, and War Of The Worlds.  Great stuff!  

Steven is looking forward to his first Sputnikfest.  I asked him the standard Sputnikfest interview question: "Where were you in ’62?"  He says he was a 7 year old kid living in Toledo, Ohio.   His parents tell him he was born there, but he secretly suspects he was born in California, abducted by space aliens, and transported to Toledo. 

Make plans now to check out Steven's artwork at this year's Sputnikfest - and keep checking back here for more details on this year's event!  Planet Terry

Sunday, February 9, 2014

YES - Plans are underway for the Seventh Annual Sputnikfest!  Check back here in the coming weeks for details on this year's event.  The Sputnikfest event organizers have had a couple meetings already and things are starting to shape up.  And there will be some changes this year!  I'll share with you here in coming weeks just what those changes will be.  We can promise you something that won't change - this year's Sputnikfest will once again be Wacky Tacky Fun!  More details to follow - Planet Terry

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Miss Space Debris, 2013

Introducing: Melody Martian, Miss Space Debris of 2013. 
Origin Story:  Melody Martian and Marvin lived together on Mars and were deeply in love, but their love, alas, was forbidden.  You see, Marvin was a Moon-tague and Melody was a Space-Capsulet and the two families were sworn enemies.  
Melody's family emigrated from Mars to Venus to avoid persecution.  And now Marvin's sole purpose in life is to  destroy earth with his Illudium PU-36 Space Modulator because it blocks his view of Venus - and of his one true love, Melody Martian.  Melody entered the Miss Space Debris competition hoping that her winning might dissuade Marvin from destroying this planet, which Melody has taken a liking to - because she enjoys Sputnikfest so much. 
Melody says she decided to enter the Miss Space Debris competition because she loves to do "spunky, weird things."  She said she watched the competition last year and decided it would be the perfect thing to get involved in!
Melody beat out another very worthy finalist, Miss Galaxy Girl!
Melody's favorite thing about Sputnikfest is seeing all the different amazing costumes and seeing what people can come up with.  Melody particularly likes seeing the Star Wars characters each year and says that of all the characters from the movies, her favorite "would have to be Jabba The Hut because every time I see him I can't help but laugh."

When Melody is not at Sputnikfest, she loves to sing and play bass - and she also likes to read, hang out with her friends, and play volleyball.  But her favorite thing on Earth is Sputnikfest.  She says it is "a very fun, and interesting festival. I think it's a wonderful event for people of all ages!"  
At right is an image of Miss Space Debris 2012 and the 2013 finalists.
Melody will be representing the Spirit of Sputnikfest at various parades and events over the next year.  
Thanks to all who participated in this contest - and who attended Sputnikfest this year - the event would not be possible without your support.  Planet Terry

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Alien Pet Contest

Pets in Space?  This Discovery News article says it is possible.  Of course - as the article is talking about worms, I think these people may have too overbroad a definition of the term "pets."  

Nathaniel Szewczyk, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Physiology at The University of Nottingham is quoted as saying "Clearly worms are not people."  (That's why he's a scientist.) 

"We would love to send worms to places like Mars and/or other planets," Szewczyk said. "The key challenge ... is to convince governments and/or funding agencies that this can and should be done."  
Good luck getting funding for that.  We have a hard enough time getting sponsors for Sputnikfest - and we've got Elvis AND Vader'sFist on our side!

If they do get ready to start sending pets into space, we have some potential candidates right here.  

Contestants in this year's Alien Pet Contest included this distant cousin of a Gorn, 

a pair of Conehead Pooches, 

and this little Space Pup.  (oh yeah, he looks real happy to be here)  And when the pets take over the world, you know they are going to get even with us for this!  Thanks for checking back in.  And see you - and next year's Alien Pet contestants - at Sputnikfest 2014!  Planet Terry