Why the Heck Is a Comedian Judging the Philly Contraption Contest?

Judging, Logistics, Philly Contraption Contest

The Philly Contraption Contest is happening this Saturday at Regina Angelorum Academy in Ardmore (doors open at 11 a.m.!), and we’ve got four judges lined up to grade the Rube Goldberg machines that the participants have spent months building.

First up is Philly comedian extraordinaire Chip Chantry (pictured). Now, some may wonder why the heck we would ask a comedian to judge Rube Goldberg machines. As far as we know, Chip doesn’t have an engineering degree. He’s never built a Rube Goldberg machines. Heck, we’re not even sure he can do long division. But what he does have is a great sense for the whimsical, the absurd, and the weird, and this is all a huge part of what a great Rube Goldberg machine is all about.

Next, we have award-winning journalist, DJ and radio host Bobbi Booker, a longtime member of the Philadelphia media community. Each team is required to do an oral presentation, in which they tell a story and also explain their machine, and stories and explanations are right in the middle of Bobbi’s range of expertise.

Rube Goldberg machines are machines, of course, but they’re also artistic expressions in a way. Kinetic sculptures, if you will. There is a lot of creativity that goes into making a Rube Goldberg machine, and so we invited one of the most creative people that we know: photographer Sarah Bloom, whose work has been featured in numerous galleries and publications.

And last but certainly not least comes Nicholas Wilson, a Main Line dad, musician, and builder who loves to take things apart and put them back together. We hear he can fix anything from an air conditioner to a vintage typewriter. Gadgets and making things work are his specialties.

All of the judges will rate the teams and machines on the following criteria: oral presentation; creativity; use of household objects and recycled materials; reliability; and complexity.

The awards ceremony begins around 1:30 p.m. Prizes include trophies, Five Below gift cards, and more than $1,000 in cash.

The Philly Contraption Contest
Saturday, March 18th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Regina Angelorum Academy
105 Argyle Road
Ardmore, PA

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