Tune In: White House Maker Faire

White House Maker FaireStarting at 10 a.m. ET today, watch events live at WhiteHouse.gov/Maker-Faire.

On that page you’ll also find a variety of interesting maps. Find out where all the participating honorees and makers are from. Learn where supporting universities and libraries are located. See for yourself that our own Kevin Faulconer is among the Mayors nationwide who have made a pledge to boost the Maker Movement. 

Want to monitor the action during the day? Follow #NationOfMakers on Twitter.

The “Building Maker Communities” Pledge

Day of MakingPart of the build up to the Day of Making which coincides with the first White House Maker Faire will be the “Building Maker Communities” pledge. If you are a maker then this pledge asks that you advocate for making in your community.

The pledge reads: “As individuals, as members of families and community groups, and as makers, we want to help support the continued growth and impact of maker movement in our community and in America. We want to ensure that more people have access to the tools, materials and mentorship that allows them to develop as makers. We want our communities to develop a thriving maker ecosystem that takes advantage of new opportunities in manufacturing, education, innovation and design.”

A gift for taking the pledge is a download of David Lang’s “Zero to Maker”.

If you’d like to take the pledge then please click here.

The People of Maker Faire

The People of Maker FaireWhen someone attends their first Maker Faire it can be very affecting. Many people experience a door opening in their heart and are forever changed. Occasionally a person will chronicle this for others to read and such is the case with Anthony who documents his experience in How the Maker Faire Restored My Faith in Humanity.

While there’s much he likes about Maker Faire, he first shines a light on makers with “the people are downright awesome!” and closes with “in a world where people are becoming increasingly selfish and self-absorbed, you [makers] have shown me that there are still communities of people that are welcoming and understanding.

Kudos to you, our community of makers!

Two Maker Faires in Washington D.C.

This month there are two Maker Faires in Washington D.C. The first on June 8 is the D.C. Mini Maker Faire while the second on June 18 is the White House Maker Faire which will coincide with National Day of Making.

Leading up to the President’s Maker Faire are make initiatives on a national scale. First, there’s the Mayors Maker Challenge wherein Mayors from across the U.S.  are challenged to take steps to advance making. (#2 is host a Maker Faire!) Second, there’s Contribute a Project where you’re encouraged to post interesting projects into this national database for others to see. This is just the start; more initiatives will be announced in coming days.

Be proud, our maker movement has never had more traction.

Fun Hacks at Bay Area Maker Faire

SDMMF: 15th Largest Maker Faire

"Yeh! San Diego held the 15th largest Maker Faire in the world!"

“Yeh! San Diego held the 15th largest Maker Faire in the world!”

Last year was full of milestones for Maker Faire. It was the first year for triple digit events when San Diego held the 100th and the final Faire of the year. Last year was also the year that more people attended Mini Maker Faires than the larger Faires run by or in conjunction with Maker Media. Total attendance exceeded 500,000 for the first time.

And so far as we’re concerned, San Diego in it’s debut year and under terrible weather conditions managed to become the 15th largest Maker Faire in the world.

This is an achievement we can truly take pride in. Congrats to you!!!

San Diego Turns Out

Between 130,000 and 140,000 people attended the Bay Area Maker Fair this year and San Diego was well represented. El Pulpo Mechanico (above) was not from among our tribe but it made for a dazzling spectacle. Among the many legit sitings were:

  • Qualcomm, our premier sponsor in 2013, liked what they experienced at SDMMF so they got a booth in San Mateo.
  • Maker businesses including Fab Lab, Robo3D,  Feetz and Rokenbok.
  • Prominent maker institutions were also in attendance including reps from Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo and SD Central Library.
  • We spotted upwards of 35 people but that’s surely a big undercount.

We’re certain that the above list only scratches the surface of SD’s presence.
If you were there then let us know by posting a comment below.
Let’s hear from those who made the pilgrimage.

Iconic Maker Faire Exhibits

Cupcakes on Parade (photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson of Flickr)

Cupcakes on Parade (photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson of Flickr)

Who doesn’t love Nerdy Derby (thank you Maker Place!)? What kid doesn’t want to make a Marshmallow Shooter or Air Rocket? How can a Maker Faire be complete without a Learn to Solder booth? These are the great hands-on exhibits that provide attendees with making experiences and we need more of them.

Now is the time to be planning for new hands-on exhibits. It’s still months before our next Maker Faire and we can use this time to prepare. Two local companies have taken the challenge to develop new exhibits and are busily prototyping. We have several makers from last Maker Faire who have also risen to the challenge. With a little luck we could see some wonderful additions.

However, we don’t need to invent our own exhibits. There are plenty of ideas to be found at other Faires which just need to be built locally. For instance, Cupcake Carts are a commonly-found hit. We could start from scratch or in the maker tradition we could learn from others. Tom Sawyer Labs has instructions on how to make a low-cost version of a cupcake. Care to take on that project?

If you have ideas for other hands-on exhibits then post a comment.
If you’d like to get involved then write us with your interest.
Let’s do what we can to up our game for next time!

Our Maker Faire Leadership

Margie led a corp of 250+ volunteers. (photo courtesy of Kat Schmitt)

Margie led a corp of 250+ volunteers. (photo courtesy of Kat Schmitt)

Staging a Maker Faire isn’t easy. Producing our event required months of preparation, a legion of volunteers, and a committed leadership team. We didn’t know what level of volunteer support to expect going into SDMMF 2013 but we weren’t disappointed. And when it came to leadership, out of our community surfaced an amazing set of people.

At the start almost nobody knew anybody else. However, as the process unfolded our leadership needs were filled. Marketing, volunteer management, exhibitor curation, promotion, supplier management, legal, sponsor management and communications were just a few functions where people stepped up, took ownership and made things happen. It was truly impressive. Such makers!

The  good news for future Faires is that the leadership commitment continues. At last week’s Bay Area Maker Faire we had amazing representation at the Mini Maker Faire Producers Workshop. Our core team from last year was there and in addition we had folk from the SD Library, Balboa Park, and the SD Zoo. We even had someone from our team presenting SD lessons learned to other producers!

If you know one of our many leaders then do our local maker movement a favor.

Say “Thank you!” Let them know their efforts are appreciated.

Maker Collaborations

Collaboration at the Learn to Solder booth. (photo courtesy of Kat Schmitt)

Collaboration at the Learn to Solder booth. (photo courtesy of Kat Schmitt)

It was our hope that holding San Diego’s first Maker Faire would be the start of good things. After much hard work, on December 7 we came together under cloudy skies and torrential downpour to celebrating making in our city. Even under these conditions the turn-out was far more than we expected. Makers met, projects were shared and relationships were started.

That December day marked the start of a process. Makers discovered makers and started down the path to familiarity. After makers become familiar they start to share ideas, ambitions and dreams. Invariably, when they find common goals they start to collaborate and we’ve seen collaboration in spades!

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