What to Do and See at Maker Faire

Maker Faire Bay Area

Maker Faire is an annual event in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area event is taking place this weekend, so to inspire you to check it out here is a post about what my experience was like at last year’s Maker Faire. This year is rumored to be the Bay Area’s last. I hope that ends up not being true! It’s rare that an event brings together art, culture and tech like this one does. Here’s what I discovered at the fair.

The fair is sponsored by Make: magazine, and I totally appreciated this installation that lets you be on the “cover” of an issue.

The event takes place at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. It’s a huge campus of tents and buildings and there is a lot to see. Plan on a whole day if you can so you don’t feel rushed. There are plenty of surprises that appear while you’re walking around, such as these people riding around in mechanical cupcakes.

Here’s a hot tip about San Mateo place: it’s almost never warm. I was glad I wore a jacket and a scarf headband.

Maker Faire for Creatives

The tech side of Maker Faire is pretty huge, especially at the Bay Area fair. (There’s an entire tent for robotics.) That’s all totally cool, but as a person on the artsy side of the making of things, I also found plenty of things that were non-techy. A personal highlight was a tea workshop with the founder of T-WE TEA in San Francisco, where we blended our own teas and learned about the science and history of tea. Of note for crafters: there’s a fiber arts section of the fair with tables to sit and do crocheting, knitting and embroidery. Introvert’s paradise.

Shopping at Maker Faire

Like most fairs, there is also the merchant tent for a little shopping. The wares were more definitely more unique than a typical fair, however. Think Burning Man headdresses and 3D printed jewelry. Chad bought some nerdy t-shirts (his favorite) and I bought a rose quartz point for my crystal collection (my favorite). These laser cut pins are pretty nifty too.

Three things I did not expect to see at Maker Faire: a tiny house exhibit, a highly extensive European model train railway and a roving fairy.

There was also this guy:

Many things that happen at this fair don’t really have an explanation (or the explanation is “we had it leftover from Burning Man.”) So you just go with it and take photos. To sum up Maker Faire, it’s a regular faire but with more robots. And you should totally check it out!

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