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Frequently Asked Questions - Exhibitor FAQ's

FAQs - Exhibitor FAQ's

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is organized by Science Spark, a 501(c)3 non-profit science outreach organization best known for producing the inaugural and hugely successful San Diego Science Festival in 2009 and the USA Science & Engineering Festivals in Washington, DC, in 2010 and 2012. Science Spark was founded by serial entrepreneur Larry Bock to create compelling and engaging science festivals to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is backed by a strong Advisory Board made up of Nobel Laureates, government and industry leaders, experienced educators and other thought leaders in science education. The Festival is funded through corporate sponsorships, grants, and private donations. We are able to create this Festival, offer heavily discounted exhibit space and make Festival events free of charge for the general public because of our sponsors and donors, in particular our Founding and Presenting Host, Lockheed Martin. Science Spark is operating out of San Diego and is run by a very small team of dedicated professionals and volunteers.

Friday, April 15 - Sneak Peek Friday: 9:00am to 3:00pm
Saturday, April 16 (10:00am - 6:00pm) and Sunday, April 17 (10:00am - 4:00pm) - EXPO open to the general public

NOTE: All Exhibitors must staff their booths for the duration of Expo dates/times above, including Sneak Peek Friday. 

We also have the following special events taking place at the Festival:

Thursday, April 14 - XSTEM Symposium: invitation only from 9:00am to 3:00pm, for more information click here

In Washington, DC, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20001

Get Directions

We expect attendance upwards of 350,000 visitors over the 3-day Expo. On average, Exhibitors of the 2014 Festival reported 8,000-10,000 visitors to their booths over the course of the 3-day Expo!

Sneak Peek Friday is an invitation-only event for students and teachers from underserved schools, Homeschoolers, Military families, Government Officials and their Staffers, and the Press. All exhibitors are required to participate and must be completely set up by 5:00pm Thursday evening. Please contact with questions or if you have issues participating in Sneak Peek Friday.

The Exhibitor Portal is an online tool where all Expo exhibitors and performers update their contact and exhibit information, as well as pay for their booth space. Exhibitors are provided with log in and password information via email once they have registered to participate.

Exhibitor fees apply unless your organization receives a grant or is a sponsor. Exhibitor fees for the basic 10’x10’ package are $1,000 for non-profit organizations and $1,500 for for-profit businesses. The cost of one table, 2 chairs, a trash bin and one electrical 5 AMP outlet are included in these fees. If you need additional tables and chairs, power or require usage of water, additional fees apply and will be assessed depending on your specific needs. Exhibitors are also responsible for covering any additional costs specific to exhibits, such as move-in/out labor, special flooring, chemical disposal, security, commercial shipping and special set-up equipment.

The cost for a space in the Career Pavilion is $250, and includes a 6' table and 2 chairs.

Exhibitors are required to list their needs through our Exhibitor Portal. The complete exhibitor manual can be found on the Exhibitor Resources page.  For specific questions please contact

You will be prompted to pay your exhibitor booth fees upon your first login in to the Exhibitor Portal. Additional fees will be invoiced once they have been assessed, approx. 3-4 months prior to the Expo. If you are a sponsor, your exhibitor booth fee is included in your sponsorship or you have already been invoiced for additional space, however, your additional fees will be invoiced separately at a later date. You may pay by credit card or check. Please note that we are unable to fill out vendor forms. All pertinent information is included on the invoice. You may download our W-9 form via the Exhibitor Portal.

All exhibits should be highly interactive and targeted at a 10th grade level or below understanding of science. Please refrain from using static displays. The best exhibits are typically those that have a clear take-home message. We strongly encourage having scientists and engineers at the booth to interact with people and answer questions. For useful tips on how to create an impactful exhibit, read our Top Ten Tips to Create an Exhibit that Rocks! Click here to open, review and print this PDF.

Each Standard 10' x 10' Booth includes the following equipment:

• 8’ High Draped Back & 3’ High Side Walls (white)
• 1 – 6'L x 24”W x 30”H Skirted Table (white)
• 2 – Plastic Contour Chairs
• 1 – Wastebasket
• 1 – Standard Electrical Outlet (5 Amp located at the back of your booth)
(A Standard Electrical Outlet can accommodate 1 laptop or 1 small device. If you need additional electricity, you must order it from Hi-Tech Electric via the order form on USASEF Expresso.)
• 1 – 11” x 17” Identification Sign with Company Name and Booth Number
• Please note that booth carpet is not included and may be ordered separately, but is not

Your entire exhibit must be contained within your booth space. Storage of any boxes or supplies must also be contained within your space.

As always, the Festival Expo will Celebrate Science and Engineering! The Expo will be organized by pavilion categories to allow guests easy navigation and exploration. Some of the pavilions will include:

  • Natural Sciences (includes biology, chemistry, physics)
  • Earth Science (includes earth, sea, sky, weather)
  • Astronomy/Space Exploration
  • Engineering (includes robotics)
  • Health and Medicine
  • Energy
  • Social Sciences (includes psychology and sociology)
  • Math/Computer Science
  • High Technology (includes nanotechnology and green technology)
  • Kids Pavilion (for children under 7 years of age)

Booth placement and configuration will be determined based on -various criteria, including sponsorship level, date by which all exhibit information is received, and special needs for your exhibit.  You will be able to specify your location preferences by thematic pavilion in the Exhibitor Portal.  We will release booth numbers and locations in early 2016.

The Expo will take over the entire Washington Convention Center (WCC), and it will be bigger and better than ever before!  The Expo will have exhibitors throughout as well as performance stages, food and beverage concession, and much more. The multi-block WCC is located in Washington, DC on Mount Vernon Place between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, close to the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Washington.

The preliminary deadline is December 2, 2015. After December 2, you will be able to make changes via the Exhibitor Portal until February 17, 2016.

If you need to make adjustments prior to February 17, simply log into the Exhibitor Portal and update your information. After February 17, please email if you need to make substantial changes to your exhibit, which require a re-write of the description and have an effect on what materials you will be using. If you are simply changing the wording of your description, without changing materials used, primary content and focus of your exhibit, target age group, keywords etc., simply log into the Exhibitor Portal and make the change.

We will do what we can to accommodate special circumstances or help you find local resources. Please send an email to to discuss your needs.

We hope you will reconsider because we really want you to be part of the greatest celebration of science & engineering in the United States! If there is really no other option, please let us know as soon as possible so we may reassign your space to an organization on the waitlist. If you must cancel your exhibit, you need to do so in writing to by December 31, 2015. Your exhibit space has been offered to you at an extremely discounted rate, heavily subsidized by financial sponsors. Space at the Washington Convention Center is limited and the Expo will be sold out. If you cancel, your previously paid exhibit fees are non-refundable and serve to offset costs incurred on your behalf. A $500 cancellation fee applies if you received your exhibit space at a discounted rate or as part of a barter agreement.

Each exhibitor will receive a standard identification sign with their exhibit name that they are required to display. All signage must fit within your booth space. There are no restrictions on logo or organization name use on signage at the Expo.

Each exhibitor will be provided with an exhibit sign as part of the booth package. If you would like to hang additional signage in your booth, please contact GES, our general services provider, at (800) 804-3214 with the specs of your sign and they will provide you with instructions.

Expo halls will have security guards at the entrance during the move-in/out hours and exhibitors will be asked to show credentials. Expo halls will be locked overnight. However, if you have valuables, we recommend that you hire a private security firm specifically for your booths. Washington Convention Center, USASEF, Linder, and their agents are NOT liable for any lost or stolen items.

Further details and an order form for additional security will be included in the exhibitor kit.

One 120V/5 amp is included in your 10’ x 10’ booth, unless noted otherwise. It is not a dedicated circuit and the outlet will be placed in the back of your booth. If you would like to request that the power be placed anywhere other than the back of the booth, you must communicate this request to Hi-Tech Electric.  The exhibitor will be responsible for associated labor costs.  Exhibitors will need to bring a UL-approved extension cord(s) if necessary.  If you need additional electricity, you will be able to order directly through Hi Tech Electric at the Convention Center beginning fall of 2015. Please note: Career Pavilion exhibitors are not provided with electricity.

If you need Wi-Fi service only, it can be purchased on site through your web browser at the Convention Center. You do not need to order it in advance. If you need faster service that requires a hard line connection, you will be able to purchase through Smart City, the USASEF Internet provider.  Ordering will be open beginning in fall 2015.

There will be 4 cold water fill & drain sink stations, two in Halls ABC and two in Halls DE.  Exhibitors may access these freely to fill and empty SMALL hand carried vessels no larger than 1 gallon.  Any vessel (tank, pool, etc.) larger than 2 ½ gallons, (the size of a small 12x6x8 aquarium) with a fill weight over 27 lbs. must be drained by Hi-Tech Electric & Plumbing personnel at the booth. Please contact for more information about labor charges relative to your display that may require a fill & drain over 27 lbs., or just draining services. All hand carried filled vessels that are brought back to your booth must be sealed to prevent spills. Hazardous chemicals are not permitted to be emptied into the sinks. All hand carried vessels must only be emptied in the fill and drain sink stations.  Public restrooms or floor port drains are not to be used for draining. All vessels that are hand carried for draining must be clear of all other objects (stones, marbles, clay, etc.) before emptying into the fill & drain stations.

Drinking water fountains are strategically placed within the Washington Convention Center and water bottles will be offered for sale.

Hand washing areas are not provided except within the restrooms and water from your booth must be disposed of only at official dumping areas. Exhibit water is available for a fee and amount and usage must be noted on the Exhibitor Portal.

No food will be provided and exhibitors will be on their own for all meals. There is a food court in the convention center and concession carts will be around the stages in the Expo halls. They will be open during the show hours.

Yes, you can, with certain restrictions. You will be asked to submit a Risk Assessment Form through the Exhibitor Portal once you are formally set up as an exhibitor and have paid your invoice.  If you have questions in advance about specific specimen and restrictions, please email us at      


Yes! We have several mobile labs signed up. List your mobile lab specs in the Partner Portal and we will contact you to confirm.

Festival T-shirts will be available for sale at the Expo.

The Expo will feature three performance stages spaced throughout the show floor.  We will supply 1 wireless microphone and 1 handheld microphone on a stand at each stage. Stage Shows will include science presentations, jugglers, rappers, singer/songwriters, bands and other cool science and engineering demonstrations. Performers will be assigned 20 or 50 minute performance timeslots. Please contact with questions or interest in time on the performance stages, all acts must be approved and confirmed in advance.

There are numerous hotels in the area.  The USA Science Festival is compiling a selection of the best options and will share a link here as soon as availability is finalized.


No event parking is provided. It is the responsibility of each exhibitor to find parking him/herself. Public parking garages in downtown DC are very expensive (approximately $25 per day), so plan accordingly. 

The Washington Convention Center is located at 801 Mount Vernon Place (between 9th and 7th Streets NW on L Street NW). The Green and Yellow line Mt. Vernon Square/7th St Convention Center Metro Stop exits into the Convention Center. Click here to download the Metro map.

The dress code is casual. Exhibitors are allowed to wear shirts bearing their organization's logo and/or name. Having everyone wearing the same shirt helps identify staff from attendees. All exhibitors and their staff must wear Expo provided credential while at the WCC; credentials will be available at the check-in desk outside the Expo halls.  Please tell all your staff and volunteers to wear comfortable shoes.

During the hours of the Expo your exhibit must be staffed by smiling faces at all times. Each 10’x10’ booth should be staffed with a minimum of 2-3 people at all times. We recommend assigning staff and volunteers to shifts, so everyone will be able to take breaks. Volunteers will not be provided by the Expo for exhibitor booth.

Five exhibitor staff credentials will be included in your 10’ x 10’ booth. (5 per 10’ x 10’ booth). A maximum of 25 credentials will be provided per organization. Credentials will be required to gain admittance during move-in/move-out. 

The credentials are transferrable so your staff may share them between shifts. They can be picked up at the exhibitor check-in desk located in Salon G.

For personal use, exhibitors can videotape or take photos of their exhibits within the Expo. Any filming outside of the Expo area will require permission from the Festival Organizers.

  • Lots of energy

  • The info sheet that will be provided to you with your check-in time and location

  • Your mobile phone

  • Phone numbers of all your staff and volunteers who will be working the booth throughout the weekend

  • UL-approved extension cord(s)

  • Tape

  • Any signage, materials, and equipment you need for your exhibit

  • A camera to take pictures of your booth for your next newsletter

  • If you use a disposable for your activity, make sure to bring enough so you don’t run out or have a plan in place to get more.

  • Trash bags

There is no requirement to hand out anything and we are not encouraging exhibitors to hand out freebies. If you do want to have a giveaway related to your activity, consider items related to your activity or buttons or pins with the Festival and your organization’s logo. It’s difficult to predict how many you should bring – based on our experience you should plan for 6000-8000 items.

Please do not bring an excessive number of handouts for distribution at the event. We encourage you to be green! Although many people will stop at your exhibit space, most will not take your brochures. We also ask that you plan to take any undistributed materials with you after the event.

Yes. All collection of data must be voluntary on the part of the attendees.

You may offer small merchandise for sale within your booth. Typical items include t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, or small items related to your display. You may not offer food or beverages for sale. If you plan to sell merchandise in your booth, please contact by November 1, 2015 for information regarding permitting.

We are not restricting the type of marketing materials that you bring, or what you want to distribute. However, we recommend that you resist handing out paper as much as possible. You are required to describe all marketing materials in the Exhibitor Portal, but you do not have to provide a sample. You are permitted to ask attendees to provide contact information for follow-up.  All collection of data must be voluntary on the part of the attendees.

If your question is not answered by the FAQs:

  • Send an email to - Please include your organization name in the subject line.
  • Call 202-459-0859: This is our Exhibitor Communication Line. This phone line will be answered by Linder, our logistics partner, between 9:00am – 5:00pm EST M-F. Calls outside of that time frame will be answered within one business day.

The Career Pavilion booth space includes a 6' table and 2 chairs, and does not include pipe and drape or electricity like the standard booth package. The Career Pavilion is meant for information sharing on STEM programs, mentorships, university/college fair information and jobs.