If every entertainer’s goal is to witness a crowd of starstruck fans, then Dete Meserve may be one step closer to that reality—literally.
The Wind Dancer Films principal and executive producer of PBS KIDS’ Ready Jet Go! is gearing up for her brand’s presence at next week’s Washington, D.C.-based 50th anniversary festival in celebration of the Apollo moon landing. The space-themed, three-day event taking place form July 18 to 20 on the National Mall will feature NASA astronomer and Jet Propulsion Lab’s Dr. Amy Mainzer, along with series creator Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!) and performances from the Ready Jet Go! live band.
The strategy of taking the series into a live setting is an ongoing one for Meserve, who was blown away by the response to a 2017 space-themed event held in Nebraska that also featured the Ready Jet Go! brand.
“We did something like this for the total eclipse in 2017, where we worked with NASA,” Meserve says. “There ended up being 22,000 people present at the Homestead National Monument. We were only anticipating a crowd of about 5,000. There, we saw first-hand the remarkable ways that we can connect with kids.”
Now, on a much larger scale, Meserve is hoping to parlay fan interest into long-term inspiration and engagement.
“We are big supporters of the idea that if she can see it, she can believe it. So kids can learn about moon landings and play science-backed games by actually interacting with real people who do this every day,” Meserve says. “It’s all about accessibility and seeing that science is fun in real life, too. The more we get them to ask, the more we can engage with them through our material.”
And speaking of material, Ready Jet Go! (now in its second season on PBS KIDS and currently airing in 162 territories worldwide) is looking to forge further collaborations with NASA, as well as other off-air events. “I have nothing concrete to announce yet,” Meserve says. “But we are always open to opportunities…from Nebraska to other parts of the world.”
News of the three-day festival comes on the heels of the Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step special airing on PBS Kids last month. The same special will screen at IMAX theaters at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum from July 15 to 21 as part of admission to the museum.