Note: This Event was part of my “Secret Experimental Event Series” for Big Weekend Calendars and The Austin Events Wall Calendar. You can read more about the event series in this post.
Where The Idea Came From
If you look for tv shows about history you will find that more than half of them are about ancient Egypt. (And half of those seem to be about how they were built by the aliens, but this might just me my personal queue).
Since many of my customers are parents who are looking for things to do with their kids, I wanted to make sure I had at least one event that would be a fun family activity. (Though I think “How many extension cords can we put together?” might also work, despite the threat of electrocution and neighborhood fire.)
It was inspired by:
- My volunteering at cardboard fort night at the amazing Fusebox Festival.
- All the “Ancient Pyramids. Ancient Aliens” shows that Amazon Prime keeps suggesting I watch.
- The obvious truth that a constructing a bunch of cardboard pyramids would help me sell calendars.
The benefits of this project were:
- People could get creative and draw on their cardboard pyramid, inside and out.
- People could go into other pyramids and be surprised by what they drew.
- It would have the exciting feeling of “being a part of a group of people doing the same thing for the sake of doing it”
- Having a collection of 10 pyramids in a park down by Lady Bird Lake was going to get some attention. People would know their work would be seen.
Facts are cheap and easy to make these days so I decided that this was a real thing:
“Ancient Austin Pyramids”
Just to make sure I couldn’t be held accountable for inaccuracies about real things I decided to add a question mark:
“Ancient Austin Pyramids?”
But the question mark made it look too doubtful. So I made it sound more rhetorical:
“Did you know? Ancient Austin Pyramids”
The implication that other people already knew about them would leverage the power of social proof so I wouldn’t be hassled to show the evidence I didn’t have. Perfect.
So now that I had the event idea and headline, I needed to figure out how it actually was going to work.
I wanted to make them big enough to climb in, maybe 4-6 feet high. This required oversized cardboard and the next size up from “too small” is a 5×8 sheet. Which turned out to be pretty expensive. After shopping around, I found that Office Depot had them (I was not expecting that) and they also had free shipping and I had one of their many coupons for some money off.
This was exciting news. I never get to use those coupons because on the back of them they list a bunch of items that you can’t use them on. And the list encompasses just about everything you’d ever want to buy from Office Depot. Except cardboard.
So a week later a lift-gated semi-truck pulls up in front of my house to drop off 5 sheets of 5×8 cardboard. The truck is otherwise empty. I paid $60.60. I don’t think they made money off this one.
I work out a design and my friend Vianca comes over to help me make up a prototype. The idea is that I’d give people pre-cut pyramid walls, they decorate them and then assemble them. It actually went together really easily.
Due to the pandemic this event did not happen. I wrote an official announcement about the cancellation:
“Did you know? It actually did happen and you missed it.”
Below are the details and promotional video for the “Did You Know? Ancient Austin Pyramids” event as posted to the public. See more detail here on the Big Weekend Calendars website.
Did you know? Ancient Austin Pyramids?
This event is part of the Austin Events 2020 wall calendar’s Secret Unpublished Event Series.
Did you know that during ancient times, Austin had Egyptian pyramids? Most people are completely unaware of this astonishing history because it never happened. But here’s something that IS happening: I got a bunch of cardboard so let’s build pyramids.
Things to know:
- This is for real.
- I’ll supply cardboard and tape, but you should bring art supplies so that you can make hieroglyphics.
- If you bring extra supplies, you might make some friends.