by Dot Cannon
Ever see a 25-foot-tall, fire-breathing robot?
If you answered, “No”, Maker Faire® San Diego can remedy that situation.
They can also introduce you to a banana keyboard, give you a hands-on soldering lesson and spark your creativity in myriad other ways, as they celebrate their third San Diego anniversary at Balboa Park next weekend.
This year, Maker Faire® San Diego will keep you busy exploring a total of nine different areas. Events are happening at seven participating institutions and two outdoor areas, according to Balboa Park Cultural Partnership Director of Events and Public Programs Cody Nelson. Expect to see: incredibly cool light art, 3D printing, performances, robots, structures, costumes…
…And, that’ll be just the first five minutes.
Just three of the venues participating: the Old Globe Theatre (with a Costuming and Stage Set Design Zone); the Japanese Friendship Garden (which will feature a “Star Wars and Beyond” zone); and the Fleet Science Center (which will host a “Technology Zone”).
While Maker Faire® itself started in the Bay Area in 2006, Cody emails us that San Diego joined the party in 2015. Appropriately enough, Maker Faire® San Diego began during the Centennial Celebration of the 1915 Pacific-California Exposition in Balboa Park. (So, as San Diego celebrated the spirit of exploration and innovation, they were getting a twenty-first century start on their next hundred years of technology-enhanced creativity!)
Exploring past the boundaries
“Maker Faire is about the exploration and participation of the unknown,” Cody emails us.
It’s also about having a whole lot of fun doing so.
And–especially–the maker community is about challenging boundaries. In her email, Cody mentioned that, among the exhibiting makers, she’s excited to have blind makers participating in Maker Faire San Diego this year.
“This is a marginalized community, and I am interested to experience how they approach making their projects,” Cody tells us.
Cody recalled a favorite past Maker Faire exhibit: “the 25′ temple built by members of the San Diego Collaborative Arts Project”. (Narrowing it down to one favorite can’t have been an easy choice!)
And, now it’s time to prepare to find your new favorites. Here’s the link to Maker Faire® San Diego’s “Plan Your Day” schedule.
Looking ahead to Maker Faire® 2018
Now–what if you’re a maker, and would love to exhibit at next year’s event?
“My only advice is to apply early!” Cody tells us. “We strive to accept all makers that apply before the application deadline.”
Meanwhile, there’s another way you can be involved with Maker Faire® San Diego. While Cody says that volunteer applications areclosed for the current year, she adds that “we are always looking for volunteers“.
And if you have a special skill, Maker Faire® San Diego would like to know about it.
“We query volunteers to see if they have a skill that can be applied to a making activity or elsewhere in the event,” Cody explains. “Skills vary from knowing how to solder to driving a forklift. Additionally, volunteers knowing how to code has come in handy, but mostly makers take care of themselves.”
In the skills department, of course, a healthy dose of innovation is welcome.
“A skill one particular volunteer had was creating a temporary cast out of foam, duct tape, and popsicle sticks,” Cody tells us.
She also says you can’t go wrong by combining your interests with your inner “MacGyver”.
“One year, we had a volunteer that was a knot-tying enthusiast, and we had him help with tying banners down and reinforcing our giant inflatable mascot,” Cody said. “He had a knot for every occasion. ”
Maker Faire® San Diego happens Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th, 2017, at Balboa Park. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm, both days, and ticket prices are lower if you buy online. Discounts are available for students and active-duty military.