This last weekend, thousands of people attended Mini Maker Faires at Barnes and Noble stores around the country. Attendees had the opportunity to see demonstrations of the high tech gadgets, meet prominent makers, and participate in hands-on workshops. While over a million people attend Maker Faires each year, relatively few people get the opportunity to be a presenter at one, so I'm going to share a little about what it is like to present a project at a Maker Faire.
Preparing for the Maker Faire
When preparing for a Maker Faire, the first thing that you need to do is build a cool project that you can share. You can make any kind of DIY project that you want: an autonomous robot, a bicycle-powered music system or even a fire breathing modern art sculpture. The important part is that it is something you are excited to share with other makers. This enthusiasm to share what you make is what drives the maker movement.
Once you have a cool project, you are ready to find a Maker Faire. There are hundreds of Maker Faires around the world each year. So just go to the Maker Faire website and find one near you, then fill out the application for presenters.
When it gets closer to the Maker Faire, the organizers of the Maker Faire will get in touch with you. You will get assigned a time to present and a table where you can set up your project.
The Day of the Maker Faire
On the day of the Maker Faire, show up early so that you have plenty of time to set up. Before you settle in at your table, I recommend taking a quick look around so that you know what other presenters and activities are at the faire. That way you can recommend other activities to people who come to talk to you.
Next, set up your project at your table. I was presenting my project on how to control appliances with a TV remote. I also had a few of my other projects on display for people to look at. Once you're all set up, just stand behind your table, look friendly, and wait for some curious maker to walk up to your table.
Interacting with Other Makers
Maker Faires are a place where everyone can come together and share their common enthusiasm for making. Interacting with other makers is the best part of any Maker Faire. You may have anywhere from one to one thousand people come up to talk to you, but no matter how many people show up, you're guaranteed to have a great experience.
Speaking at a Maker Faire, you'll have a chance to share your ideas with people who share your interests and also get useful feedback on your project. You can inspire others and be inspired by them in return. It's especially fun when you get to interact with younger makers and help encourage the next generation of engineers, inventors and artists.
Enjoy the Maker Faire
When you are done with your presentation, stick around and enjoy the rest of the Maker Faire. There are tons of workshops and activities that you can participate in along with everyone else. Go talk to the local robotics club. Check out the LEGO table. Sit in on someone else’s presentation. Make the most out of the rest of the day.
I love attending Maker Faires and I had a great time presenting my own projects. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes to share what they make. So find a Maker Faire near you and get involved!