The Maker Faire is a Family Affair
Some people are just born to make things. San Jose resident Valerie Terry is a maker: She bakes and crafts. Mom to 5-year-old Maia and toddler twins Stella and Elise, she and her husband are planning a return trip to next weekend's Maker Faire. The family will likely head to the Young Makers area, hoping to see favorites like last year's giant Light Brite wall where the kids happily moved giant pegs around to create illuminated wall art. "We also spent a lot of time last year in the robot room and around the Steampunk snail and the steam engine locomotive," she explains, adding, "We craft at home but everything is bigger and more amazing at the Maker Faire."
The Do-it-Yourself (DIY) industry has expanded beyond the corner hobby store and into the online world of blogs and how-to sites. Lifelong garage tinkerers and tech geeks alike have made DIY projects a popular pastime or way of life. Even the most maker challenged among us can turn to handy online step-by-step guides for everything from auto repair to crafting.
Sprung from the mind gears of O'Reilly Media co-founder Dale Dougherty, the Maker Faire debuted in the Bay Area in 2006. There are now Maker Faires in Detroit, Austin and Queens, New York.
According to Maker Faire director Sherry Huss, part of the original vision was to extend the reach of the Maker Faire beyond the traditional male audience. That vision has come true; The Maker Faire is truly a family affair. Mom, dad, kids, grandma - anyone can be a maker. "Some describe it as Burning Man for families, " Ms. Huss said, acknowledging one of the Maker Faire's many monikers.
However you want to call it, the Maker Faire is the one place where adults can participate in activities meant for kids, especially in the Young Makers area. Everywhere, there are adults next to kids, tinkering and making things together. It's like a giant DIY workshop.
It won't be hard to find something for everyone.
For the Star Wars Fan
Star Wars fans young and old can follow R2 droids as they beep their way through the crowds. If that's not enough, young padawans can track down Maker Faire veteran Bonnie Burton who will be on-site teaching kids how to make crafts from her book, The Star Wars Craft Book.Continued on the next page