Welcome Makers!

This is your resource center to guide you through the many details of exhibiting at Maker Faire.

We update the toolkit frequently. If you can’t find the information you need, please check back.

  • Maker Faire Chicago Date & Location

  • April 22 & 23, 2017
  • McCormick Place
  • 2301 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60616
  • SHOWTIMES Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Maker Deadlines

Check back soon for more information and links.

Application Schedule
1st Round: Open through February 17 at 11:59pm PST
2nd Round: Closes March 3 at 11:59pm PST
*Applications submitted in the 1st Round are reviewed first.

Applications submitted before March 4th will be notified before the end of March.
Late Entries: Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed based on available space.


Preparing for Maker Faire

The Maker Toolkit is designed to help you navigate the logistics of Maker Faire, and most importantly, to help make your involvement in Maker Faire a positive, memorable event. Together we can make Maker Faire a truly unique, educational, safe, and extraordinary experience for all by adhering to the rules and regulations outlined in this Toolkit.


Maker Faire is not designed like any standard trade show or conference — it is a fun, interactive maze of demonstrations, exhibits, workshops, and displays. We have tried to keep it environmentally friendly and simple in design. Imagine the historical state fairs where everyone arrives with their wares and sets up their exhibit! We have different kinds of exhibit areas to accommodate the diversity of projects, and we encourage Makers to create their own look and feel.

Types of Makers

Maker Exhibit: Individuals, groups, schools and organizations that would like to demonstrate what they make and/or how it works in an all-weekend exhibit space; interactive exhibits are encouraged. For Maker Groups, please have one point person to coordinate your efforts.

Maker Faire provides Makers that are participating purely by sharing their project and inspiring others to make with exhibit space and required tables, chairs, entry passes, etc., at no cost to the Maker.

Makers with commercial interests or marketing intentions are asked to pay an exhibit fee.

Makers Sampling or Selling Food: If food is part of your exhibit and you plan to give or sell any to attendees, you must comply with McCormick Place Guidelines regarding sample size and insurance. More information and links coming soon.

  • Selling: If you plan to sell, only prepared, packaged foods (defined as food that is not consumed on-site and is prepared prior to consumption) can be sold. To sell, you are required to pay the Exhibit fee.

  • Ingredients: You are requested to display a list of ingredients for any tasting and/or selling so that the audience is informed in case of allergies and/or food sensitivities.

  • Performance: Musicians and entertainers who would like to perform at Maker Faire. Performances are usually on stage and scheduled for approximately 50 minutes. Set lengths vary. Some performances in the past have been roaming and unscheduled, which is welcomed. Please mention scheduling details in your application.

    • If you need a space, away from a stage to perform many times during the weekend, fill out the Maker Exhibit application.
    • If you plan to have a scheduled performance once or twice during the faire, fill out the Performer application.

    Presentation: Individuals and groups who would like to talk about an idea or project of interest to the Maker community, OR makers who are interested in demonstrating what they make and how it works in a stage setting. Presentations are typically 10, 20, or 45 minutes, with some time for Q&A.

    Types of Exhibits

    These are guidelines only, your exhibit may not fit exactly into one option below, and it may fit more than one.

    Basic: A tabletop, small area, or 10×10 space to demonstrate what you make.

    Activity Area: A hands-on, fun, interactive area that encourages audience participation to learn how to make or do something.

    Demonstration Workshop: During a short show-and-tell session, Makers demo and teach particular skills, techniques, or processes, explaining materials and tools, stepping through a building process, sharing their knowledge, and interacting with the audience. Sessions are less than 30 minutes and may be repeated. Demonstrations will be done in your exhibit area.

    Roaming Exhibits: If you have an exhibit that will roam during the show, please let us know if you require a location for your use as a home base for non-roaming activities.

    Attraction: A wonderful, unusual thing that doesn’t fit in to any of the categories above.


    We will provide a table and chairs if requested in your application. Please plan to bring anything else that you would like to have, such as extension cords/power strips and any hardware or supplies that will help you display your project. We trust that you will supply any equipment or supplies you need to make your project functional. In some cases, the Maker Faire Production Team will assist with some elements of your setup as long as it has been agreed upon in advance. Please feel free to make signs for your exhibit that help the attendees understand what you are making!

    The Maker Admin Tool is a great way to manage your Exhibit Details. You can now view and edit all the answers you have submitted in your application. With the Maker Admin Tool you can change the exhibit description, photo, or bio sections that will appear on your Maker web page.

    So that we are in agreement as to what you will require for your exhibit, please review the following details:

    Tables & Chairs: We will provide a table and two chairs, unless otherwise requested in your application. Standard tables are 8ft x 30in folding banquet tables. We do not provide a cover.


    • Understanding your power usage is important: We need to ensure you have what you need and you will not create a problem for your fellow Makers by tripping the circuit breaker. Most consumer electronic devices have a small label that will tell you how many watts or amps they draw and at what voltage.
    • Voltage: In North America, normal house and building power is 120 volts. (Large machinery may require 220 volts. If you need a 220v, tell us what phase you need.)
    • Amperage: After you determine the voltage you require (see above), we need to know how many amps you will be using at that voltage. If an item only lists watts and not amps, you can quickly convert watts to amps by dividing the watts by volts (Watts / Volts = Amps.)
    • Examples: A 500-watt light bulb requires approximately a 4.2A (A=amps) on a 120V (normal US) circuit: 500/120= 4.2. Here’s a list of average amperage for common Maker Faire items: Laptop ~2A, Sewing Machine ~0.6A, Lights ~0.3A-2A, 3D Printer ~10-20A, Arduino ~0.1A. Please check your equipment, and don’t guess; Power is expensive! We want to provide enough, but not too much. Thank you in advance.

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    Maker Entry Passes and Ticketing

    Check back soon for more information and links.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Exhibit Questions, Changes or Setup Requests

    How do I know if I need to fill out a Safety Plan?

    If you’re concerned your exhibit might put the attendees or your exhibit team at risk, please bring any and all concerns to our attention. Email ChicagoMakers@makerfaire.com. We will advise you as to whether or not a safety plan is needed.

    Safety concern examples: you or your exhibit has chemicals, gas, or other items of that nature; your exhibit has activity or might require safety barricades; an attendee at your exhibit might potentially get hurt in any way; etc.

    What is the difference between a General Safety Plan and a Fire Safety Plan?

    Fill out the General Safety Plan for all general safety issues which do not include concerns about fire or flammable materials. Complete the Fire Safety Plan if heat elements or fire of any size, including candles, small flames, burners, etc. are part of your exhibit. If you’re unsure, email us at ChicagoMakers@makerfaire.com. It’s important to us that Maker Faire is safe, and we appreciate you checking with us.

    Everything Else…

    I’m a first-time Maker, do you have any advice for me?

    1) Watch this video made by a Maker during Maker Faire Bay Area 2012.
    2) Read through the Maker Toolkit; There’s a ton of great information in there. If you still have questions, contact us at ChicagoMakers@makerfaire.com

    I haven’t heard anything from Maker Faire. Am I missing any messages?

    Our emails might be in your spam or junk folder. Please check that folder, and add ChicagoMakers@makerfaire.com to your contacts.

    Your first message should have arrived immediately after you submitted your entry form.

    If you still can’t find any messages, email ChicagoMakers@makerfaire.com.

    Rules and Regulations

    As guests at McCormick Place and the local area, we must abide by all regulations of a public facility. These are designated primarily to ensure public safety, and we thank you for your cooperation in complying with these rules and regulations.

    • No drilling of holes, attaching to, or painting of the floor, or any other defacement to floors or walls. When such damage occurs, the Maker is solely responsible and is liable to the owner of the property.
    • Signage and/or decorations may not be taped, nailed, tacked, stapled, or otherwise fastened to any wall, ceiling, column, stone, window, drape, or painted surface in any area inside the building or on the premise without advance permission.
    • No tents are allowed in any building.
    • Do not insert stakes in the ground without specific permission, as it could be costly and dangerous. There may be wire or gas lines underground that will be damaged.
    • No exits, fire-fighting equipment, or emergency equipment can be blocked or obstructed at any time. Fire extinguishers and fire-hose cabinets must remain visible & accessible at all times.
    • Sufficient space must be provided within the booth for the comfort and safety of persons watching exhibits, demonstrations, displays, or workshops.
    • Exit and Aisles: Aisles must be kept clear of all displays and equipment. Entrance and exit doors shall remain unobstructed at all times.
    • Electrical Devices: All electrical devices with three-wire supply cords shall utilize “UL” ground receptacles. All electrical extension cords must be of heavy-duty three-wire construction.
    • Fireproofing: All draperies, decorations, and materials must be flame-proofed in accordance with local fire code. Materials may be inspected and/or tested by the Fire Marshall at anytime.
    • Hazardous material must be disclosed. All hazardous materials must be properly disposed of. Materials such as grout, mortar, tape compound, etc. cannot be poured down the facility drains. The facility will not accept dumped building materials or electronic waste; you are responsible for the removal of these items.
    • Exhibit storage cartons and crates, combustible waste materials, empty cardboard boxes, etc. must be removed from the building and cannot be stored behind the back drapes or display wall.All building materials, supplies, etc. must be taken away after teardown. The facility will not accept dumped building materials or electronic waste; you are responsible for the removal of these items.
    • Propane and Helium will not be permitted without prior review and approval.
    • Indoor Display Vehicles and Motorized Display Items: Fuel level must not exceed ¼ tank and must be less than 3 gallons. Vehicles/items must be inspected and approved before entering the exhibit building. Once located in the exhibit space, the negative battery terminal must be disconnected, and the fuel tank cap must be taped or locked.
    • Combustibles Kept Outside: Additional supplies and inventory must be kept in closed containers and stored in a neat and compact manner.
    • Food Makers need to comply with all Health Code Regulations and cannot serve samples unless arrangements have been made for permission to do so.
    • Do not endanger or harm any person, property, or the environment, including all the McCormick Place property, including the parking lot, entrance ways, ticket booth areas, and other areas used by Maker Faire or its employees, contractors, agents, members, or guests.
    • Management reserves the right to restrict exhibits, displays, demonstrations, presentations, or workshops that become objectionable because of noise, method of operations, materials, safety, or any other reason.
    • The Chicago Fire Marshall reserves the right to make any final decision regarding the layouts and floor plans and has the authority to close down and/or fine any exhibit not in compliance.

    Every participant, employee, agent, or contractor connected with the use of the premises shall abide by, conform to, and comply with all the laws of the United States, the State of California, as well as the ordinances of the City of San Mateo and all rules and regulations of the Police and Fire Departments of the City of Chicago and the County of Cook and make no violation or breach of peace.

    Exhibits must be in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a legal requirement for public facilities. This law became effective in January 1992. It requires access for disabled persons. A Guide to the Disability Rights Laws can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/cguide.pdf

    Insurance: It is your responsibility to ensure the safety and security of your exhibit and its components, visitors within your exhibit area, and your personnel. Reasonable precautions will be taken to protect your property, but Maker Media Inc., Maker Faire, and the McCormick Place assume no responsibility for any losses due to fire, theft, accident, or other causes.


    To help us produce a fun and safe environment for Makers and the many attendees, the members of our Safety Team will assist in monitoring our safety program throughout Maker Faire. All individuals who would like to participate in any interactive activity at Maker Faire are asked to read and sign a waiver. If your exhibit has an activity, please make certain that each attendee is wearing an Activity Wristband prior to joining the activity. Please direct attendees to the nearest Activity Wristband Station or Information Booth to obtain a wristband.


    Note: The following are industry standard rules that require full compliance.

    Fire Hazard Notification & Special Permits: As a Maker, if you intend to display, operate, or use any of these items shown below, you must obtain prior approval from the Maker Faire Production Team:

    • Heat-producing or open-flame devices, candles, lamps, etc.
    • Electrical, mechanical, or chemical device deemed hazardous by the Fire Department
    • Internal-combustion engines
    • Flammable liquids, compressed gasses, or dangerous chemicals

    All Maker Safety Plans must be submitted to the Maker Faire Production Team by (date coming soon). The Chicago Fire Marshall reserves the right to make any final decision regarding the layouts and floor plans and has the authority to close down and/or fine any exhibit not in compliance.

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    More info coming soon!