San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
All Aboard! The Marvelous Maker Faire©
: for immediate release
Stevanne Auerbach/Dr. Toy™ The Marvelous Maker Faire is a family fun festival for the public of all ages. One was held on May 21 and 22 at the San Mateo County Event Center. (May 20 was launch day and a special school day—lucky kids!) Six other events are scheduled to be held during the rest of the year.
The event takes place both inside spacious halls and all around the outdoor grounds. Visitors on skates, Segway, bikes, wheel chairs, golf carts, and in the multi- car train could cover more territory more easily and faster than we could; each area was well worth your time to visit, and move as you wish, and at your own pace. This is an event dedicated to make, create, learn, invent, craft, recycle, build, think, play, and be inspired. It is a two-day event to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology. It features rockets, robots, electronics, circuit boards, Tesla coils, 3-D printing, alternative energy vehicles, and much more.
This is an extraordinary event by any stretch of the imagination and, like no other, it combines the best of many worlds—Makers of all kinds from all over (as far away as Australia, France, Canada and New Jersey) present their handiwork, creativity, and skills. Ranging from handmade things like crafts, jewelry, and clothing to imaginative cars/solar vehicles, to constructions and robots, to food makers, art, science and technology displays, just to name a few of the myriad of great offerings that cover the entire landscape from one end of the site to the other and extending into the parking lots.
Maker Faire is a feast of creativity at its best that is hard to contain in the space available, or to even begin to cover in one or two days. We did our utmost to cover as much as possible in one day. We learned so much that my brain is rapidly attempting to meet the challenge of sorting it all out to provide you with a better understanding of this event, and to indicate why it's well worth the effort for the whole family to attend. This is an event that all creative people, including--GEEKS, Geek Kids, wannabe geeks, ordinary kids, adults, teens, and makers of all kinds will love and fully enjoy.
The Maker Faire is a unique and huge showcase of creativity and technology that stimulates, inspires, and provides fun and amazement for all ages. It is an event not to be missed by anyone who has ever asked "Why?"
The Maker Faire combines talks, exhibits, demonstrations, performances, and surprises that are everywhere at the same time so there is a total immersion of amazement.
The Marvelous Maker Faire is the greatest combination of The County Fair, without animals; Burning Man without sand or camping; Tech Museum spread out beyond walls, time, and space; Children's Museum without limitations; Street Fairs that offer food, crafts and entertainment. This event is a veritable laboratory of creativity at its best in all forms, shapes and sizes—from simple to complex—the best that can be brought to one location for display and direct experience for two days. Included are people in costumes, plus plenty of surprises like giant bubbles, old cars, and lots of different music. There are light shows and LED creations that were combinations of fireworks, lightening, creative expressions, and moving objects like a colorful glowing shark on wheels opening and closing its jaws.
In the Maker Shed, among an extensive array of displays, there are areas where you can learn to solder, use other tools, and obtain kits of all kinds. You can learn the latest about robotics, vehicles, and digital fabrication. Many speakers and presentations are strategically located throughout the entire event. In the Tech Shop, companies like Autodesk provide demonstrations of their latest software; and 3D Systems shows printing; and there are many other innovative new products and projects like the plans for a new museum dedicated to the creation of videogames. The projects and products are on display with time to meet the inventors.
There were also included a Health area, Arts and Fire Arts Expo, and an area called Making the Middle Ages but we could not get to it all. The entire event holds an abundance of surprises, learning and fun for everyone.
We were mightily impressed by the hands on activities offered by the Exploratorium—one of the greatest world-class museums of all times—and their dedication of the staff to bring the best of science, tinkering, and experience to this event. The well trained staff happily shared their enthusiasm and skills with thousands of kids (and adults) of all ages. The Tinkering Studio staff provided an amazing abundance of "hands-on" activities and learning, experimenting, and experiences that alone were well worth the price of admission. These folks are masters of experiments with art, science, technology, and ideas. See www.exploratorium.edu
We were thrilled to see the make and play areas presented by users and providers of several toy genres and their creative leadership. Those reaching out to new fans included amazing displays of creativity presented by the Bay Area LEGO User Group (www.baylug.org) with colorful, large and small constructions; The display of CitiBlocs (www.citiblocs.com) with thousands of wooden blocks being constructed by busy hands of all ages under the guidance of 12 year old Maker and Master Builder Colin Freed.; Klutz Toys, which set up hands-on creativity activities; and Blue Orange Games (www.blueorangegames.com) who playfully demonstrated its latest games, including Sumoku, a new crossword style game with numbers. Blue Orange Games also won this years Editor's Choice and Education Award at the Maker Faire. The company was recognized for their lively and fun booth as well as their constant steady interaction with families and children while promoting fun and educational games. See more on the sites http://www.facebook.com/BlueOrangeGamesUSA#!/media/set/?set=a.203751879660460.44952.187194544649527; Everyone had so much fun playing games, building and discovering.
We stopped to learn about the useful information available from NASA and picked up a "NASA Space Glider Shuttle Glider Kir" for our grandson who will enjoy making a replica.
Also learned that Clif Kid is offering a Backyard Game of the Year Award www.clifkidbackyardgame.com with some impressive prizes.
We were extremely impressed by two and creative toothpick artists, both smitten when they were young children and who ever since have been perfecting building techniques. Both can be found on Youtube. Scott Weaver* http://www.rollingthroughthebay.com, can be seen at The Exploratorium (until June 26) with the entire landscape of San Francisco complete with hills, cable cars, and outstanding buildings, all built using Elmer's Glue, and toothpicks by Diamond and others.
We also examined the toothpick creativity as presented by the amazing Steven J. Backman** at www.toothpickart.com and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFM-cG43zJM, who has artistically created astounding art museum quality toothpick art.
We enjoyed meeting Bruce Gee who created templates made from computer generated art that were transformed with the help of smart teen helpers into individualized transfer art. The results delighted children and adults who learned that they, too, could make transfer art using the right software and helpful guidance.
Likewise, for all the "wannabe spies" they can learn a new twist by creating a spy tool based on the bug-in-a-book kits from David Simpson at www.bug-in-a-book.net, which works with best sellers as well as any classic books you might like to use to embed the handy device to listen to others more closely.
The highlight of the afternoon was a presentation on the Tesla Stage by Nolan Bushnell (Who launched the game industry with Pong (Atari) and later created Petster and AG Bear (Axlon), Chuckie Cheese Restaurants, and other contributions.) who was filled with good advice to support and encourage thinking outside of the box, suggesting actively and regularly trying new projects, learning to stimulate and strengthen the brain, taking risks to enhance creativity, and expand life experiences to the fullest. He had exciting news about anti-aging games (see www.anti-aging.com) and is currently in development with a new and innovative high school he is creating in LA that will have world-wide applications
Creativity was well represented by many amazing displays of art and kinetic sculptures of many kinds–some extruding fire; and a gigantic swing that was 40,000-pounds of stone and steel overhead that moved with the tug of a rope by dozens of children pulling in unison. 'Colossus' was originally built by Zachary Coffin for Burning Man in 2005. Just the sheer determination to set up some of these installations was awe inspiring.
Crafts, good food, new projects, and demonstrations were everywhere. We will update as we obtain more information and will post and share more in the future (see www.drtoy.com).
Kudos to Sherry Huss and the entire crew of enthusiastic staff, and the many helpful volunteers of Maker Faire who worked very hard to produce six years of events; two days of fun and learning that is first class all the way. Lucky are the kids from schools around the bay area who attended the kick off day on Friday. This is what school and learning should be first and foremost—discovery, hands on, experimental, tangible, provocative, and learning with a wow and wonder factor.
There is so much more to share. For more information go on line and explore www.makerfaire.com.
Consider subscribing to the publication Make: Technology On Your Time Magazine, for projects and information at www.makezine.com; learn more at www.makershed.com.
Watch for and do your best to attend a Maker Faire event at the following venues taking place through the rest of the year (see list).
Be sure to visit 7th Annual Bay Area Maker Faire 2012 at the same location--You 'won't want to miss it. We can't wait to attend again next year. This time we will plan for two days so we can see all the great things we missed.
What an amazing world! We can enjoy a potpourri of self-expression, abundant imagination, diversity and unlimited potential. Maker Faire makes us feel optimistic about our future. Let's play!
More from Dr Toy--see www.drtoy.com
Forthcoming Maker Faire Events
- Mini Maker Faire Ann ArborJune 4, 2011
- Mini Maker Faire North Carolina June 24-25, 2011
- Mini Maker Faire Kansas CityJune 25-26, 2011
- Mini Maker Faire VancouverJune 25-26, 2011
- Maker Faire DetroitJuly 30-31, 2011
- Maker Faire New YorkSeptember 17-18, 2011
Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. /Dr.Toy
Dr Toy's Guide
San Francisco, CA