Host a Barbets and Cons | CoM Event

Why Host a Celebration of Mind Event?

Celebration of Mind (CoM) events are designed to stimulate curiosity and a sense of wonder. Why is this important? Curiosity powers the imagination, inspires innovation, makes us better problem solvers in both our work and our daily lives; it makes us more creative, and it’s just plain fun! CoM events bring together a group of people for a playful exchange of recreational math, magic, science, literature, and puzzles. This format is designed to work best for a small group of people, where it is also suitable to invite the uninitiated stranger to join—at a local pub, bar, or other establishment suitable to sit and play.


Look for a cozy place that will allow you and a handful of people to hangout as long as you want. Most venues will be happy to accommodate you as long as you consume drinks and/or entertain part of their customer base—just be sensible and explain what you are up to.

  • A pub, bar, restaurant, etc. would work well.
  • Some venues need to be booked well in advance; keep that in mind when you select a location and date.
  • You can download this booklet to explain Celebration of Mind events to the management of your desired venue. Or just show them a couple of samples, like a game or a puzzle and explain that you will be engaged in similar activities while having a pint or two.
  • When reserving a table:
    • Make sure you have enough time for set-up and preparation prior to the arrival of the attendees;
    • Any evening / night might work well; usually the closer you are to the weekend the more regular patrons you will get (sometimes it might be too crowded for a quiet evening)
  • Register your event on the CoM website.
    • Create a login and add your event information.
    • Your event will be approved and added to our online World Map!
    • Your event web page will provide time, date, location, and descriptive information (or can be listed as private for non-public events)

Register Your Event 


Two to three weeks in advance

  • Download this poster PDF to print, fill in your details, and post around your neighborhood and at the event venue.
    • The first 2 pages are US standard sizes: 11 x 17″ and 8.5 x 11″.
    • The second 2 pages are international standard sizes: A3 and A4.
    • Print the larger size if you have access to a larger format printer.
  • Download and print from the CoM Welcome Pack:

CoM Welcome Pack

  • Some towns and cities have free local events calendars online. Contact them and see if you can post your event.
  • You can also ask to leave some Invitation at the venue such as flyers.


One week in advance

  • Make a selection of your favorite materials:
  • Gather any supplies needed (deck of cards, dice, pencils, tape, scissors, markers, etc.).
    • The supplies needed for specific CoM activities are listed on the activity web pages;
    • Many supplies can be found impromptu, i.e., corks, straws, sugar packs, matches, etc.
  • Print from the CoM Welcome Pack:
    • Martin Gardner posters;
    • Celebration of Mind banner (optional if you’re on a shoestring budget);
  • You can pack everything in a large container like a leather suitcase, large plastic bin, or cardboard box for easy transport and accessibility.


The day of the event

  • If venue agrees, put up Celebration of Mind banner and Martin Gardner posters from the Welcome Pack.
  • Strategically place items to arouse people’s interest


  • Place things where you can easily make use of them.


The event begins

  • You can challenge early guests with smaller individual puzzles while you are still waiting for more people to arrive;
  • Call for attention and introduce Celebration of Mind and Martin Gardner – 5 min
    • You can use this short description or adapt it to better suit your audience:

Celebration of Mind (CoM) brings people together to explore and enjoy puzzles, games, math, and magic. Martin Gardner pioneered the field of recreational mathematics with his column Mathematical Games in Scientific American for a quarter century, starting in the 1950s. He introduced mainstream audiences to subjects including the Soma cube, fractals, flexagons, John Conway’s the Game of Life, and the work of M.C. Escher. You can read more about Martin Gardner at the Gathering4Gardner Website ( ). CoM events are held annually on or around Martin Gardner’s birthday (October 21st) so that people worldwide can meet and share in his legacy. As Gardner said, “you can learn more when you’re in a state of entrancement”, we hope you experience something here today that will inspire and delight you.

  • Propose friendly competition and / or exchange of barbets and cons.
    • Ask for a few volunteers to help with more elaborate puzzles and or bets for the general public.
  • Enjoy, engage and exchange puzzles, riddles, magic, science, and mathematics tricks.
  • Call for attention, thank everyone for coming and let them know they can go on the CoM website for more activities like these.