If You Build It,They Will Come To The Maker Faire

Last September, Mark Mathias took his kids to the New York Maker Faire. The event — an exhibition/showcase/festival where techies, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, musicians, engineers, artists, students and anyone else entertains, informs and connects with kindred spirits of all ages and backgrounds — inspired the entire family.

Mark’s son was especially impressed with the marshmallow shooter, made from PVC pipe.

Three months later, for his 7th birthday, he and his friends build a similar contraption. “They learned about plumbing, projectiles and air flow,” Mark says. “And they had fun.”

Alan Winick will exhibit his personal submersible yellow submarine at the Maker Faire. Eight feet long and 2300 pounds, it has gone 120 feet deep in Long Island Sound.

On Saturday, April 28 the Maker Faire comes to Westport. The 1st event of its kind in Connecticut, it will fill the Westport Library and Jesup Green with contraptions, crafts, art, engineering, food, music, robots, rockets, magicians, jugglers, and whatever the cat drags in.

Over 50 exhibitors will provide demonstrations, hands-on-workshops and do-it-yourself resources. Anyone and everyone is invited to make, build, design, hack, eat, drink, listen, create and play.

The Maker Faire has already inspired a number of people. When Mathias asked the library for use of the McManus Room, Bill Derry — assistant director for innovation and user experience (!) — did more. He offered the Great Hall and Children’s Library too.

Westport Sunrise Rotary provided seed money. The Downtown Merchants Association will sponsor a “Battle of the Homemade Bands.” (That’s right: make your own instruments. You’ll be judged on creativity, tonal quality — and fun.)

A Rube Goldberg Competition begins with a pile of stuff (maybe a lawn chair, tubes, marbles — whatever the aforementioned cat drags in). Participants then construct a contraption in true Goldberg fashion.

You could call Westport’s Maker Faire a celebration of invention, creativity and resourcefulness.

Or you could just call it “way cool.”

(The free Westport Mini Maker Faire is set for Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Library and Jesup Green. All are welcome. For more information, email royfuchs@snet.net or call 203-856-4321. The deadline to apply as an exhibiting “Maker” is April 1; click here for a form. In honor of their 30th anniversary, CLASP Homes is a co-presenter.)

Mike Ogrinz is a longtime robot builder. The one on the left was constructed with cardboard and tin foil. His B9 robot (right, from "Lost in Space") will be on display at the Westport Maker Faire.

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