May 21, 2010

572 words 3 mins read

Maker Faire this weekend!

West Entrance to Maker Faire 08

Are you in the Bay Area? Do you have some free time this weekend? If so, come on down to the Maker Faire at the San Mateo County Fairground. It will be all sorts of kick ass. Past years have featured some of the following: Giant Tesla coils, fire breathing dragons, life (person) size mouse trap board game, RC boats firing at each other, Adam Savage, cupcake cars, more legos than you can shake a stick at, a plug-in Prius, model rockets, and a menagerie of other cool stuff too long to list. You can find a list of all the makers, but that doesn’t really convey the cool. If you know what “Make” magazine is, enjoy building things like Legos (or K’Nex), play with electricity, take care of bonsai trees, decorate in steampunk or care about recycling — this event is for you. In 2009 there were over 80,000 visitors who came to check it out. Wikinews even has a story about it.

Volunteers & Staff at the ‘08 Booth.

If you happen to be dropping by, stop by the Expo Hall — Space #90. You’ll find me and the rest of the Wikimedia crew hanging out. Right next to us will be our good friends at wikiHow. Last year we had a blast, and I’m sure this year will be just as good, if not better! I did a lengthy write up here on the blog about my in depth experience. The one thing I wrote, that apparently I’ve forgotten was “I’ve learned my lesson about volunteering to be in charge of these things… NEVER AGAIN!”. Why? Because I’m basically in charge again this year, but it is all in fun (and for a good cause).

A few tips for the wayward visitor unfamiliar with Maker Faire:

  • Come early if you can, because parking is a bitch. If you don’t come early, expect parking to take a while and use a shuttle (some of the lots are WAY far off).
  • If you can, use public transit. Unfortunately the only rail in the area is CalTrain and the nearest station is a bit of a hike (But I heard they ran shuttles last year).
  • BRING CASH. You’ll probably want to buy something (Food?), or maybe donate to a good cause. While there are ATMs on site, last year they ran dry.
  • Beware of the weather. So far it is look like it will be a nice (but cool, low 60s) weekend but who knows, it could still rain. A number of the exhibits are outside, so bring an umbrella if it looks like rain.
  • Allot a decent amount of time. If memory serves, last year there were about 500 “Makers” (or exhibitors). Even just running about snapping a single picture of each booth in the morning, before any attendees were allowed in, took me a good solid hour.
  • Read the “wikiHow to survive Maker Faire” guide.
Delicious, Delicious Faire Food.

Really, Maker Faire is one of those events each year that I really look forward to. Afterward I’m totally exhausted and generally have lost my voice, but it is worth it. As exhibitors we get in for free, but if we weren’t, I’d still pay the admission fee (I think last year was $25). My list above doesn’t do the event justice, but there is basically something for everyone. Plus, who doesn’t love faire food?