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Colored cake cones roll along a conveyor to get packaged by staff at Joy Cone in Flagstaff. The company makes more than 1 million cones a day. The company was offering tours as part of the Flagstaff Festival of Science.

This year's Flagstaff Festival of Science will officially launch Saturday with Science in the Park, however, several events are already getting going and ushering in the 10-day event. 

On Friday, September 21 Joy Cone, Tynkertopia, W.L. Gore and NAU will each have their own science-centered events. 

Spend an hour or two at Joy Cone 

Joy Cone, the ice cream cone manufacturer based in Flagstaff will host an "Automation and Icecream" tours. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2843 Shamrell Blvd. This will be an opportunity for people young and old to see how ice cream cones are produced in a fully automated facility.

Participants must be older than 5 years of age. For every two children, at least one adult must be present. Reservations are required and can be done by emailing flag.tours@joycone.com.

Tours begin at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, and 3, respectively. For more info, visit www.scifest.org.

W.L. Gore & Associates Keynote Presentation: Raj Rajkumar on Autonomous Driving Vehicles

On Friday from 7-9 p.m. at NAU Ardrey Auditorium (1115 S Knoles Drive)  Raj Rajkumar, Ph.D., Professor of Electrical/Computer Engineering will speak on the power of artificial intelligence, which will likely take the driver's seat in the very near future.

Rajkumar is a world-renowned driverless car technology expert and will share the latest innovations from his General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab.

The presentation follows an interpretive dance performance by the NAU Community Dance Academy.

Get your free tickets in advance online or in-person from the NAU Central Ticket Office. www.nau.edu/cto; 928-523-5661. Limited free tickets at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Tynker and Wine 

For those who wish to preceed the driverless car talk with some innovations of their own, Tynker & Wine @ Tynkertopia will take place from 5-8 p.m. at 2152 N Fourth Street, Suites 106-109.

Tynkertopia, Inc. is hosting its inaugural Tynker & Wine Event for adults 21 and older. Enhance your creativity, inquiry, and playfulness while enjoying wine and hors d'oeuvres in Flagstaff's new STEM/STEAM Community Center.

For more information, email founder@tynkertopia.org, or visit www.tynkertopia.org. Donations are encouraged. 

Campus Sky Viewing

Finally, cap off Friday night by looking at the stars. From 7:30-10 p.m. at the NAU Observatory, the public will have the opportunity to explore the night skies on through the Barry Lutz telescope.

Viewings will take place at the same time on Sept. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30. For more information, visit www.scifest.org.

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