06/16/2012 09:37 am ET Updated Jun 18, 2012

International Festival Of Arts And Ideas Kicks Off In New Haven (PHOTOS)

New Haven's International Festival For Arts and Ideas kicks off today, beginning a two week celebration of our greatest achievements. Combining art, science, theater, music, food, history and much more, the festival draws inquisitive folks from all over the world to the site that has earned the title of "cultural capital of Connecticut." And with 80% of events costing nothing at all, the fair is free from that stuffy haughtiness that often drags down art fairs.

The two week festival was founded in 1996, differentiating itself from the other established art fairs with its interdisciplinary nature. Welcoming all forms of thought and imagination, no matter how provocative or silly, the festival encourages diversity and dialogue as necessary facets of urban society.

Tonight will feature musical performance Sing the Truth!, in which the iconic Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, and Lizz Wright will honor other female goddesses of R&B, jazz, blues and gospel. The power tro will cover everyone from Billie Holiday to Lauryn Hill.

We are also particularly excited for the Dinosaur Petting Zoo, in which dinos made by artists from Australian theater and visual arts company ERTH will hold a kid-friendly performance, meet-n-greet, and brunch. That's right, even prehistoric giants love their mimosas.

Sunday holds a performance by unconventional marching band Asphalt Orchestra which we are betting will be both enlightening and a bit rowdy. The one-of-a-kind act takes on acts not usually seen at your local parade, like covers of Frank Zappa and Bjork.

See all the unconventional gems on the calendar for yourself. Magical things happen when you combine art and ideas... where else could you find a flash mob that simulates the beginnings of life?

The International Festival Of Arts And Ideas runs from June 16 to 30. Although many of the events take place at the New Haven Green, the fair is spread around theaters and venues around the city. Visit the website to learn more.

Head on over to New Haven to see something like this:

International Festival of Arts & Ideas