First-ever ‘ConfabuLarryum’ festival to celebrate creativity Saturday

Imagination will reign supreme at the ConfabuLarryum this weekend at Southwest Middle School, 2511 Inverness Drive.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, visitors of all ages can participate in a lengthy roster of activities, workshops and TED Talk-esque presentations. Among the diverse attractions: computer-coding lessons, a paper plane build-off and a 50-foot pinewood derby track aptly dubbed the “Nerdy Derby.”

The free event, branded as “Lawrence’s first festival of creativity,” is a collaboration between Callahan Creek marketing agency and Lawrence Public Schools.

“The goal is to promote the power of creativity, and what creativity can do for us at home, in the workplace and at school,” said Jerri Kemble, the school district’s assistant superintendent for educational programs and technology.

The inspiration for ConfabuLarryum –a fusion of “confabulation” and Larryville, a Lawrence nickname– came partly from a presentation by Chase Jarvis, a photographer and founder of CreativeLive, a West-Coast-based online learning platform.

Both Kemble and Callahan Creek’s Ben Smith attended conferences where Jarvis spoke, and his words resonated with them.

“He was talking about creativity being the new literacy. That’s something that really struck a cord with me,” said Smith, director of social and emerging media at Callahan Creek. “When I was talking to the Lawrence school district, they agreed about creativity as well.”

Since that initial meeting between Callahan Creek and the school district two months ago, several local organizations have jumped on board– Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence Creates Makerspace and Kansas City’s Science City in Union Station, to name a few.

It’s a testament to the universal message of the festival, Smith said. With activities geared toward children, parents, educators and the business community, ConfabuLarryum truly has “something for everyone.”

Event organizers hope for an attendance of 500 people Saturday. And, Kemble said, they’re already thinking about next year.

For more information, including a complete festival schedule, visit