By Nolan Apostle
Producer, Contributing Editor and Photographer
Event City Premier Magazine
What is the Maker Faire? At the Event City Creative several of us have been big Maker fans over the years and this reporter has attended almost every year since its inception in 2006. Although I’ve missed a couple of years due to personal reasons, my conviction and dedication to the Maker Faire – DIY (Do It Yourself) genre, and the immense amount of creative talent, positive attitudes and eclectic inventive ideas on display at this event – well simply put, as the Rolling Stones would say, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away”. I would have to be laid out on a gurney to miss another Faire again.
To give you a fair definition of this eclectic festival of talent is a most difficult task, but one that we sure had fun defining. After talking with hundreds of Makers and attendees over the years we have come up with what we believe defines the Bay Area Maker Faire:
“A Creative’s Disneyland rolled into a
Futuristic Music Festival of the Arts & Sciences.”
Well that’s one definition of Maker Faire. The festival itself defines it as “Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new”, whatever you might decide it is, Maker Faire is certainly a different type of edutaining, an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, inventors, crafters, educators, engineers, electronic wizards, science clubs, hobbyists, authors, artists, students, and even an interesting collection of commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come together at a Maker Faire event to show-off their wares, whatever they may be and to possibly help you learn more by sharing what they have learned.
Maker Faire launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006 as a tiny display of DIY enthusiasts demonstrating their ideas, inventions and creative projects. The interest and excitement of this genre, if you can even label it a “genre”, has done nothing but spiral into an incredible adventure where one can see and most importantly, experience, the entire Maker community first hand in all its glory. Last year at the San Mateo (San Francisco Bay Area) Maker Faire the crowds were spectacular and truly as gigantic as some of the displays at the Faire itself – over 120,000 attendees showed up over the weekend to take in this grand event – and most of those we spoke with said they would be returning without a doubt as long as the Maker Faire existed!
Wow! Can one believe the incredible growth of an event that offers such a wide array of experiences with a general ticket price ranging from $17.50 to $60.00? The popularity of the Maker Faire expanded greatly over a short time and soon took over the entire San Mateo Events Center within a few years. Now almost a decade into the sprawling event its legions of aspiring makers, educators, moms, dads, sons and daughters and many others come to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills at the event. A record 195,000 people attended the two flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York in 2013, with 44% of attendees first timers at the Bay Area event, and 61% in New York. If you plan on going to the Faire here is some information to help you get there and around the San Mateo area. The Maker Faire is certainly family friendly – 50% attend the event with their children and many come from all parts of Northern California. Just last year alone there were 98 independently-produced Mini and Featured Maker Faires taking place around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Santiago, and Oslo.
This years Maker Faire is expected to be the largest Maker Faire to date! Could it reach 150,000? Why is it so popular? Could it be that the event is primarily designed to be forward-looking showcase for Makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But the Faire is not just for those involved in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.
The Maker Faire is an exciting and extremely entertaining event filled with an extremely diverse audience, and a fascinating, fun, curious mix of people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It’s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with an audience that can be just as eclectic as the makers themselves. All of this could be the result of the popularity explosion of this event, and as it continues to grow it will continue to present a tremendous opportunity for everyone who visits the Maker Faire; opportunities to learn, to grow, to walk away feeling real good about yourself, about your abilities to go out there and to do “something” regardless of what it might be. Some say it is an event that can easily become one’s obsession, as far fetched as that might be, it is an event that really does allow you to feel real good about yourself. Once you attend a Maker Faire one thing is certain, whether you become addicted to the eclectic fun and creative and inspirational atmosphere or not, you will come to appreciate the 950+ Makers displaying their projects and not only walk away learning something new, but truly, you will feel much better about yourself and that alone will urge you to return the following year for a whole different, but certainly just as positive, experience!
Maker Faire is brought to you by Maker Media. Maker Media publishes MAKE magazine, produces Maker Faire, and offers DIY electronics, tools, kits, and books through its online and pop-up Maker Shed stores.
The Maker Faire Official App is available for iPhone and Android devices. You can download it here.
Event City is the new online Community for the Events & Creative Industries supporting the talent and projects within the Special Events, Hospitality, Music, Entertainment, Film and all Inventors and the full spectrum of the Arts. The Event City Creative Magazine is the online publication supporting Event City and the Event City Network. Event City launches in Q4 2014.
Here is a Maker Faire Sneak Peak for you:
The “Ultimate Maker Vehicle” is revealed at Maker Faire on Saturday, May 17th, 2014
This is what you get when you combine a box of sand with a Microsoft Kinect, an overhead projector, and a series of illuminated pucks?
The Game of Drones is announcing the launch of our their official drone sports competition at the San Francisco Bay Area Maker Faire, on May 17 and 18 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Check it out, this is pure, unadulaterated, MAKER FUN!!
Game of Drones is excited to announce the launch of our official drone sports competition at Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place on May 17 and 18 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. The Aerial Action Sports League (AASL) aims to be the premiere drone sports competition, showcasing pilot skills, engineering prowess, and technology innovation through aerial combat, flying obstacle courses, and other fun drone games.
More to come on the Event City Creative Magazine.
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