Chet Greason, Gazette staff
Stratford children explored what lies beyond the sky in an event entitled “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” put on by Stratford Public Library.
The program, held on Tuesday, July 30 at the Rotary Complex, included science experiments, games, and prizes, all of which were centred around the theme of space exploration. Young people launched rockets, submitted space-themed poetry, read books, and played in cardboard rocket ships.
The highlight of the event was a speech delivered by author John Melady, who’s written 15 books for children and adults alike – two of them space-themed.
Melady, an acquaintance of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield after interviewing him for a book about pilots, shared a selection of his stories and insights. One such story involved taking a ride in an F-18 Hornet fighter jet and achieving five Gs of force in a nosedive towards the Earth before experiencing what’s known as a greyout.
“I lost my peripheral vision. It was all just grey,” he recalled, noting the centre of his focus became tunnel vision.
“If you let the grey come together, it becomes a blackout and you pass out.”
The library’s program coordinator, Trish MacGregor, said the day’s space theme largely came about due to Hadfield’s popularity when he was commander of the International Space Station.
“In March we had the March Break Space Break,” she said, adding Hadfield’s Twitter posts and Youtube videos piqued young people’s interest in space exploration, making the event extremely popular.
Tuesday’s event also fit nicely with the summer reading program's theme, which is simply “Go.”
“I like space. There’s zero gravity,” said nine-year-old Ethan Mattucci. “I’d like floating. I’d do front flips, like I do off diving boards.”