Mini Maker Faires are by definition smaller in scale than Maker Faire Bay Area or World Maker Faire New York, but they are still charged with holding the vision of the original events:
- Maker Faire is open, inclusive, encouraging and generous in spirit.
- Maker Faire celebrates what makers do — what they make, how they make it and the enthusiasm and passion that drives them.
- Maker Faire is deliberately diverse in content, and embraces not just the novel in technical fields, but innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.
- Maker Faire is interactive, with plenty of opportunities for hands-on DIY interactions for adults as well as kids. It’s OK for Maker Faire to be a bit rough-edged, messy, and at times over-stimulating.
- Maker Faire is about exhibition, not competition. We don’t see makers competing against each other. We hope each maker gets positive feedback on what they exhibited, and that the feedback is useful to them.
- Anyone who comes to a Maker Faire should have fun, be surprised and delighted, try something new, and leave inspired.
- Each Maker Faire should contribute to the growth and development of maker culture. We see the lasting value of Maker Faire extend beyond the event, by expanding the connectedness of the community of creative and technical people that are brought together.
We know from organizing these events ourselves that the planning and production of any Maker Faire is demanding and difficult. Making a Maker Faire might sound fun, and it is, but it is also exhausting. However, seeing Maker Faire come to life in your community and seeing what it means to people—not just during the event, but months later—is incredibly rewarding and deeply satisfying.
What Goes Into Creating Maker Faire?
Maker Faire is truly a co-creation. It’s a collaboration of many people, especially makers, who each contribute to the event. However, Maker Faire also requires a strong person or core group with the vision and passion to create the context for all this to happen. Maker Faire requires extensive preparation and planning in advance of the event and complex coordination with a larger team during the event. At the same time of pushing through production logistics and details, that leadership team must continue to hold and drive towards this higher level picture of what makes a successful Maker Faire.
Build A Network of Makers
The first key to creating a successful event is building a network of makers, and making sure that this network is truly inclusive of all kinds of making that one can find in your community. It’s not enough to just organize the members of a hackerspace or robotics club or local crafters. You have to find artists and engineers, scientists and crafters, and assorted makers who don’t fit into any category. Think of the first step as community organizing, reaching out to find new makers and connect them together through the event. Makers may be individuals or groups. They may be institutions such as museums or libraries. They may be teachers or students.
Create a Showcase of Creative Work
Our experience is that about 50% of the makers come in through our open application process and about 50% is the result of active outreach to identify and draw in work from the community. A core group must act as curators to locate and review create work in the community and understand how best they might be featured.
Maker Faire provides a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Many makers tell us that they have no other place to show what they do. It is often out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. DIY often is invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and kitchen tables. So the goal of the event is to make visible the projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day. Maker Faire, like any fair, might include traditional forms of making but it is primarily designed to be forward-looking, exploring new forms and new technologies.
Offer Engaging, Hands-on Interaction
Maker Faire is interactive and educational in all kinds of ways. Maker Faire is not a passive sit-down experience; it’s a hands-on experience that you grab hold of. From simple conversations and detailed explanations to amazing do-it-yourself demonstrations, Maker Faire is all about participation and sharing. Many Makers develop exhibits with hands-on activities, and you should encourage them to do so. Others bring unusual objects that we don’t see everyday, and you should feature them prominently. All of that creates a stimulating event, which is sometimes overstimulating!
Maker Faire rewards curiosity. We get to learn how things work, and why. We get to try new things and understand that we can expand our own capabilities. We consider the process of making as important as the perfect, finished product. Sharing the process with others creates new opportunities for learning.
Support Grassroots Innovation In the Community
Many makers are hobbyists and enthusiasts but they are also a source of innovation, creating new products and producing value in the community. Some makers become entrepreneurs and start companies. This is grassroots innovation that we can foster in every community. Maker Faire also celebrates the fun and freedom of being an amateur who create a stimulating environment out of which new ideas emerge.
All of Us Are Makers
Maker Faire offers the opportunity for us to see ourselves as more than consumers; we are productive; we are creative. Everyone is a maker and our world is what we make it.