Maker Faire Moves From Mini To Massive

Six years ago, Mark Mathias and a small group of believers brought an intriguing event to Connecticut.

They hoped 800 people would share and enjoy interactive, interdisciplinary, interesting exhibits.

They got 2,200.

The event — called a Mini Maker Faire — grew each year. Over 25,000 folks — of all ages, genders and from 100 miles away — have come at least once.

Interactivity is a major draw for the Maker Faire.

Interactivity is a major draw for the Maker Faire.

This year, Mathias expects a record 10,000 attendees. It will be especially notable for 2 reasons:

  • It’s set for Earth Day (Saturday, April 22), and …
  • It’s no longer “Mini.” The event is now an honest-to-goodness, full-fledged, grown-up-but-still-way-cool “Maker Faire.”

maker-faire-logoMathias is very excited about this 6th annual celebration, at the Westport Library and Jesup Green. He and his crew have drawn together a community of young and old males and females of all races, religions and economic levels. They’re technology enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists and students. All share a love of creativity, innovation, tinkering and fun.

Some show off their work, in a dazzling variety of fields. Some wander around, observing and questioning and learning. Some do both.

Small businesses find customers, inventors and suppliers. Large businesses showcase their products and employees — and find talent and ideas.

"The Great Fredini" is constructing an entire scale model of Coney Island, with a 3D printer. Faire-goers could have their own body scanned -- and printed -- to be included.

“The Great Fredini” is constructing an entire scale model of Coney Island, with a 3D printer. Faire-goers had their own body scanned — and printed — to be included.

The theme for this year’s Maker Faire is “Earth.” Organizers hope it will be Fairfield County’s main Earth Day celebration.

As the Maker Faire has grown (and shed its “mini” status), Mathias and his fellow devotees have continued to do yeoman’s work. Right now they’re seeking makers (those who showcase their work); volunteers (who make it all happen), and sponsors (corporations, philanthropists and foundations).

To be a maker or to volunteer, click here; then select the “Participate” menu. If you’d like to be a sponsor, email, or call 203-226-1791.

See you at the Faire!

3 responses to “Maker Faire Moves From Mini To Massive

  1. A polite note of caution for event promoters using the Library/Levitt/Jesup Green area: I wish you continued success. Truly.

    Please just keep in the back of your minds that this is a residential neighborhood – and is zoned as such.

    Recently, some downtown residents have raised concerns about the impact of certain events which, owing to their success, may have possibly bumped up against the physical limits of the above referenced site.

    With the hope that you hear what I’m saying, I’ll just leave it there.

  2. Bobbie Herman

    It may be time for the Maker Faire to have its own building.

  3. It takes a LOT of people to produce a Maker Faire. I’m going to take this opportunity to thank some of them. In particular, the 50 people on our Maker Faire Organizing Committee that meet for about six months before an event to create each Maker Faire. The Westport Library has been our steadfast partner for the Maker Faire every year, providing facilities, staff, volunteers and capabilities — including year-round maker activities — that make the event a success and part of our Town culture. Our makers that bring compelling attractions each year keep each Maker Faire fresh and exciting. The sponsors who enable us to put on a free event ensures that this inspiration is available to all who want to attend. The hundreds of volunteers who give of their time to keep everything flowing at the Maker Faire. The Town of Westport, Public Schools, the Police and Fire Departments and other emergency services that keep everyone safe. The board members of Remarkable STEAM who guide our hand year-round. Finally, all the people who attend the Maker Faires. We love seeing it all come together, hearing people talk about something that inspires them, surprises them and hopefully encourages them to try or learn something new.