Ahh, Maker Faire, I think I’m in love. You made me feel like a child again. I was able to solder my own POV board, dance with an R2-D2, play with lights and electricity, pig out on fair food, and check out all sorts of DIY goodies.
Seriously, I felt like I was in a Discovery Zone for adults. Or Burning Man.
I’ve been to several conventions, trade shows, etc. but nothing really compares to the leet sauce that makes Maker Faire what it is.
If you’ve never been to this event, Maker Faire is a time for anyone who likes hacking, modding, crafting, science, steampunk, and robots. It brings enthusiasts together into a huge indoor/outdoor venue to share and experience everything you can fit into a weekend. This playground for adults gives you the chance to learn more about all the geeky aspects of life. At the same time, it’s also an awesome excuse to get out of the house for a day or two and munch on some delicious fair food like corn dogs, snow cones, and funnel cakes (mmmm….). I was wondering why my friend was so giddy about this weekend, and I now understand it.
This Bay Area Maker Faire occured May 21 and 22 in San Mateo, and an estimated 100,000 attended. Hak5 decided to go as well to see what all the fuss was about. When we arrived, we were welcomed by a huge robotic giraffe with a funny british accent, telling us ‘that tickles’ whenever someone touched it. Along with the giraffe were Burning Man-esque mobiles made out of spare parts and man power, and mobile human-sized cupcakes.
Makers were giving rides on their bikes and steampunk cars to onlookers, and some were dressed in full steampunk regalia. It was a sight to see, and something I’ll never forget.
But I think one of my favorite parts was inside one of the buildings, where ArcAttack was hosting shows every couple of hours. Inside this building I found a techno party being held by several life-sized R2-D2’s, a forest of neon colored inflatable plant-things, and tons of nifty devices lit up with lights. All of this was amazing, but I was really in awe when I watched a few songs played by ArcAttack. ArcAttack is widely known for their creation of singing Tesla coils. This band uses instrumental loops and samples to create fun upbeat electronica indie music, mixed to the beat of the Tesla coils. To witness one of these shows will give you chills!
But alas, Maker Faire 2011 has come and gone for me. I can’t wait for the next Bay Area faire, and all the new surprises that will come with it.
Shannon Morse is a co-host of Hak5 on Revision3 and she is on the audio podcast Bite Club Show. You can also find her guest hosting various other internet shows now and then. When not geeking out with work, Shannon enjoys video games, anime, manga, traveling, building computers, and spending time with family and friends. Find more info about Shannon here.