Curtains went up for 18th CBSE State Youth Festival ‘Sarga Sangamam 2012’ at the Sarabhai Science Park in Kakkanad on Wednesday. The four-day extravaganza of art, music and dance began after Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany hoisted the flag.

Indira Rajan, general secretary of Kerala CBSE School Managements Association and general convenor of the festival, said it was for the first time that the youth festival was being held in an open air venue.

“The venue was chosen to ignite an interest in space science among students. The festival provides an opportunity for students to showcase their artistic talents and to learn about the immense possibilities of space science,” Ms. Rajan said.

Around 9,000 students from 192 schools in the State were participating in the fete. “Students from schools in Kasaragod to Parassala are competing,” she said.

The competitions were being held at eight stages set up at the science park. “So far 5,800 students have registered their names for on–stage events and 2,000 students for off-stage events,” the organising committee members said.

Students will compete for the Sabareesh memorial ever-rolling trophy sponsored by Gokulam Gopalan, which will be awarded to the winning district. Actor Suresh Gopi inaugurated the event in the evening.

Science too finds space

A star attraction at the Sarabhai Science Park, the venue for the youth festival, was the ‘India in Space’ exhibition set up by the Vikram Sarabhai Science Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. Students made a beeline for the space science exhibition inaugurated by P. Ratnakara Rao, Deputy Director of VSSC.

“The exhibition is part of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) outreach programme which helps students understand India’s space programme, rocket technology and the country’s future space projects,” Mr. Rao said.

K. Suresh, the VSSC outreach exhibition in-charge, who helped set up the exhibition, said he received 600 to 700 requests every year to organise similar exhibitions in schools and colleges. “However, we are able to conduct only 50 to 55 exhibitions every year,” Mr. Suresh said.

A space museum would be set up at the park by 2016.