One of these days, Isaac Eilmes will invent a new space shuttle.
His brother, Ace, will fly it.
It might be awhile. Isaac is 9. Ace is 7.
But when that day comes, they might look back on Saturday as one of the formative days, when Isaac developed an early prototype out of recycled stuff and popped a balloon.
The scientist and pilot in the making were among hundreds of kids and parents who attended What IF...Festival of Innovation and Imagination at the Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs.
The center was surrounded by vendor tents and creative events.
Kids painted a Chevrolet station wagon with whatever colors struck their fancies. "Batman and Robin" was written on one side. It had eyes, and with all of its colors and slashes of paint, reminiscent of the 1960s, when psychedelic was considered cool.
A Volkswagen with red lips and white teeth looked on, while Lockheed Martin let kids fire water balloons from a large slingshot.
Barbara Ernst and her band performed a smooth groove of Brazilian music as accompaniment.
Creativity was everywhere and kids were having a blast.
"We're having a great time," said Lindsay Mintenko of Colorado Springs, with her children Madi, 6 and Jake, 3.
Like Isaac, they were inside the center creating things that make balloons explode.
"They love it and it makes noise," said Lindsay, who got the task of holding the balloon while her kids sent a can the size of a coffee can with a pin taped to it down a small incline.
The "pop" made everybody happy.
Michelle Jackson, gifted and talented teacher with the Woodland Park School District, said the balloon popping exercise taught kids lessons they would use later in life.
"They're learning how to be creative," she said. "They're learning how to solve problems."
On her table, Lego blocks had been transformed into a hockey player, alligator and other items to pop balloons.
These were made by kids who worked hard at their projects until they were successful, she said.
"They stuck to it to succeed," Jackson said. "By the time they get out of high school, they will blow us away with what they can do."
Isaac Eilmes already was drawing attention. He was no mere amateur.
Said one of the teachers: "Look at this guy. He's very intentional."
Then she took his picture.
Isaac's father, Kurt, said Isaac loves to wake up every Saturday at 6 a.m., pull out his Legos and invent. Then he proudly shows his creations to everyone.
"He just has that kind of mind," Kurt Eilmes said. "He's going to be far smarter than I am."
Isaac's invention started with a sheet of Styrofoam selected from a table of recycled goods.
At the base, he taped two golf tees, their points aiming upward like miniature missiles.
He stuck a large coffee can underneath the Styrofoam to create an angle, then rigged a piece of plastic with a pair of corks at the top to push the balloon down into the tees and a needle he added to ensure balloon poppage.
It was all about the poppage.
He stepped back for a moment, moving his arm up and down, his face deep in thought, a pantomime of how he envisioned his project would work.
Then the first test.
"Oh," he mumbled.
He removed the corks and began the second test. There would be less friction and more momentum, he said.
There was a loud pop and applause from onlookers and his dad.
"I want to make a lot of things," he said. "I want to make things that make life easier."