Maker’s Faire, A Good Time Was Had by All

Well hats off to Phillip Torrone and the family at Make Magazine for pulling off one heck of an innagural Maker Faire. And what a great event for the kids! I brought my four down there and it seemed like half the attendees were kids.

Phillip Torrone, Make Magazine
Make Magazine’s Phillip Torrone

There were so many hands on experiments for the kids to get involved with. Rocket building, robot fighting, high speed photography, rubber chicken launching, dunk tanking, and the list goes on and on. The folks from The Crucible were there launching fire into the air. Flickr kittens George Oates and Heather Champ were shooting photos next to larger than life sized babies and cats along with a slide show of 300 of Flickr’s most interesting photos.

I ran into Robert Scoble who was there with his son Patrick as well as Laughing Squid pal Scott Beale along with wife Lori and Violet Blue from San Francisco Metroblogging.

There were trains, planes and automobiles, the world’s biggest iPod, Segways, the largest train I’ve ever seen made of leggos, all kinds of things made out of bikes (windmills, horns, ferris wheels, etc.). There were classic pinball machines, perpetual pinball machines and pinball machines that once again reminded you that pinball has historically been mostly marketed to adolescent boys.

Robert and Patrick Scoble
Robert and Patrick Scoble.

I do have to say a special thanks to the folks at Make Magazine for making this event so accessible. First off kids were free — which is huge. Kids appreciate this kind of event more than anyone and by making it affordable for families to attend Phillip and team desere a big round of applause. Second, at $7 a head for adults the thing was still very affordable. Mind you this was a full fare production at the San Mateo Expo Center. $7 for this kind of entertainment was super appreciated.

The other thing that I really appreciated about the event was the spirit of the exhibitors. For once it was nice to go to a Faire type of thing where everybody wasn’t just trying to sell you something. The various exhibitors were generally interested in what they were doing and especially seemed to have a great spirit towards involving kids.

It was also great to see a lot of the big folks embrace and event like this. There were folks there from Microsoft and Yahoo! and Six Apart.

Laughing Squid's Scott Beale, SF Metroblogger Violet Blue and Lori Beale
Laughing Squid’s Scott Beale, SF Metroblogger Violet Blue and Lori Beale.

Flickr Kittens, George Oates and Heather Champ
Flickr Kittens George Oates and Heather Champ

My son Jack said his favorite exhibit was the dunk booth. Then I reminded him about the robots that he got to control and he said, oh yeah, no, that was my favorite. My favorite was from the good folks of They had a fantastic exhibit demonstrating high speed photography. Basically they have a contraption that via a loud sound (popping balloon) triggers a strobe which allows you to use long exposure to capture high speed photographic images. Here’s a link to their set on Flickr. My kids had a great time popping those ballons in the dark.

High Speed Photography, Maker's Faire 2006
My son William popping a balloon in the dark at the high speed photography exhibit.

You can check out my complete set of photos of the event here. Also for more photos you might want to check out the Flickr tag Maker Faire sorted by interestingness. Engadget has a set of photos up as well.