Maker Faire 2011

by Wendy Copley on May 25, 2011

Sunday our family spent the day at Maker Faire. Maker Faire is a DIY-themed festival that showcases the work of artists, crafters, makers, and other people who do really, really cool things. There are demos, exhibitions, shows, booths and all kinds of fun interactive things to do and see.

This was the third time we’ve gone and we’re starting to get pretty familiar with the many of the people who show their work. We’ve started to notice a great deal of overlap from year to year, but even though we’d seen a bunch of the stuff before there were still lots of new things to see and do.

Warning: There are a kerbillion photos in this post! Seriously — one kerbillion! Sorry if it takes a decade to load, but the photos are kind of the whole purpose of this post.

Parking was really terrible this year so we had to park quite far away and take a shuttle. Because of this, we entered the fair right next to the enormous Expo Hall, so that’s were we started our day. Check out some of the cool things we saw there!

Maker Faire 2011

Augie loved this display with an electron microscope. The person hosting it was happy to let him flip switches and turn dials to his heart’s content so that’s what he did.

Maker Faire 2011

Another booth had a ceiling of silk lanterns that were constantly changing colors. It was really beautiful.

Maker Faire 2011

At the Exploritorium booth, Wyatt got to experiment with floating water drops. The cylinder you see in the photo blew air up and when you squeezed drops of water over it with a dropper, they would float for a few seconds. You can see Wyatt’s floating drop to right side of the cylinder next to the hand of the guy in the blue shirt.

Maker Faire 2011

Look at this ship made entirely of toothpicks!

Maker Faire 2011

Augie’s main objective for the day was to see robots, or “rommers” as he refers to them. We saw a lot of robots, but his thirst for them was unquenchable. Both boys really enjoyed this display and watched these student-built robots for quite a while.

Maker Faire 2011

Next we spent some time in the LEGO area. This is usually a high point of the fair for the boys and me, but this time the crowds were so dense that it was hard to see much. This Harry Potter display was cool though.

Maker Faire 2011

And Wyatt spent some time building in the big LEGO pit.

Maker Faire 2011

We also spent time outside at the LEGO Jeep. Wyatt added quite a few structures to the car.

Maker Faire 2011

…While Augie spent his time digging in the big bucket of LEGOs and throwing them on the ground.

Maker Faire 2011

Next we went into the dark exhibit hall. This hall featured lots of displays featuring light and electricity. Wyatt’s favorite was this forest of inflated trees. They slowly changed colors and were very beautiful.

Maker Faire 2011

He most enjoyed smashing his face into them though.

Maker Faire 2011

This hall also held Augie’s Holy Grail of robots — the R2-D2’s. There were 5 or 6 of them and most of them were fully functional with lights, sounds and recordings of Princess Leia saying “Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!”

Maker Faire 2011

While we were standing near the big Tesla coils one of them went off and we rushed to the stage to be right in front for the ArcAttack show. We caught this show last year but we were so far back in the room that it was hard to see. A guy in a metal suit directs huge bursts of electricity from two Tesla coils to music. It is exciting and awesome, so we were really excited to have such a great spot to see the show. Unfortunately after a large crowd gathered behind us, they announced that they were just testing the equipment and the next show was in an hour and a half. We didn’t manage to get back for it but you can see a video of what we missed here: Adam Savage + Tesla Coils + Dr. Who.

Maker Faire 2011

Back outside, we came across this four and a half ton rock that spun when you pushed it. This was probably Wyatt’s favorite activity of the entire day. Every time we passed it he wanted to play with it and cumulatively he probably spent 45 minutes or so pushing it around in circles throughout the day. Huh.

Maker Faire

There were lots and lots of cool bikes at the fair this year. I loved these giant steam punk ones.

Maker Faire

Another favorite was the pedal-powered stage. Volunteers from the audience pedaled bicycles to provide power for the musicians who were performing.

Maker Faire

Unicorn bike!

Maker Faire 2011

Pretty wooden bikes!

Maker Faire 2011

A Nimbus 2000 bike!

Maker Faire 2011

Wyatt took this half bike/half skateboard for a spin.

Maker Faire 2011

The last thing we did before the fair closed was go for a ride on the solar-powered carousel. Augie was getting pretty tired at this point, so the two of us cuddled up on one of the benches and waved to Daddy every time we went by him.

I might have done more waving than Augie, though.

Maker Faire 2011

Bye-bye, Maker Faire! See you next year!

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