After much preparation and anticipation the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire was a smashing success. We had robots, games, music, electronics, dancers, crafts, food, taxidermy, DIY satellites, innovative hardware, 3D printers and CNC technology, kits, education displays and a bunch of other stuff my tired brain can't recall right now.
Our deconstruction zone was packed with kids taking apart old electronics and appliances with adult volunteers to answer questions and guide them. It was awesome to see the enthusiasm the kids (and a few adults, too) had for exploring old electronics. We will definitely be doing more of this sort of thing and we are seeking partners in the business and tech world to help us bring this experience to the kids through school visits and community programs.
I got to pick up one of Gabotronics xprotolab, which is basically an 'oscilloscope on a chip'. I can't wait to get to work building this into my next synth project. Check them out at http://www.gabotronics.com
I was also impressed with Jaycon Systems, a local distributor of Arduinoand other microcontroller pruducts. They seem like really helpful folks and I look forward to doing business with them. Go buy an Arduino already! www.jayconsystems.com
The folks from Orlando's Familab were on hand with a Makerbot and plenty of good will for the maker community. Their mini faire is coming up in the fall. Check them out at http://familab.org/blog/
The always awesome Team Duct Tape was on hand with their robots and creative spirit. http://www.teamducttape.com/
Gordy of Gordy's Glass Creations was on hand to do a demo of his craft. Gordy makes stained glass and slumped glass pieces from recycled bottle glass. He did a stained glass demo and answered glass craft related questions. Gordy doesn't have a web presence but interested parties can contact me and I'll pass along his info.
Willingham's Fur and Taxidermy did a taxidermy demo. It was really cool to see this in person. She brought some examples of her work and preserved a squirrel while we watched.
Mentagy brain games brought us their puzzles. It was so cool to see someone bring their passion to fruition and pursue a dream. Check them out www.mentagy.com
Let me tell you- the best thing about a maker faire is that you'll meet folks who speak your language. Whether it's a high school robotics enthusiast or a wizened HAM radio operator, you'll find other folks with a passion for making and doing. It's really nice to say something like 'I used a 4017 decade counter chip to sequence a voltage controlled oscillator using a 555 timer.' not have to explain it, and if you do have to explain it, the person you're explaining it to is actually interested and not just being polite. I spend a lot of time sitting at my workbench making stuff and it's really nice to stick my head out of my cave once in a while and meet other makers.
I would also like to thank our venue, The Concourse. What a great place to have an event and their staff was very helpful. With nature trails, indoor classrooms, a huge covered pavilion, catering facilities, plenty of parking and tons of room it's an awesome place. It's really a community effort too, with much of the labor and materials for the facility being donated by local businesses. Kudos to The Concourse and the community that made it possible.
Now to start planning next year's faire...