We're just over one week from Maker Faire RI, and the online buzz is really picking up. Kipp Bradford and I are thrilled to be working with WaterFire and the City of Providence to bring Rhode Island's own Mini Maker Faire to downtown Providence for a second year in the row.
But what exactly is a Maker Faire? The original Maker Faire (which is put on by my employer) started in 2006 in San Mateo (right near San Francisco International Airport), and has been going strong ever since. In that first year, there were probably about 20,000 people in attendance: they came to see robots, life-sized games, science projects, kinetic sculpture, human-powered rides, music, technology, art, and so much more. At the last Maker Faire (2010 in San Mateo), about 80,000 people came. And now Maker Faire has expanded to Detroit and New York City.
It's reasonable to describe Maker Faire as the world's largest Science Fair. MAKE describes it as: "A family fun festival to MAKE, create, learn, invent, CRAFT, recycle, build, think, play & be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology."
Maker Faire Rhode Island is one of several Mini Maker Faires (including North Carolina, Boston, Ann Arbor, Aspen, and Kansas City. Mini Maker Faires are a bit smaller than the (last year we had 40 exhibitors and several thousand attendees), and they are put on by the local community, who is responsible for fundraising, planning, and executing the event.
This year, Maker Faire Rhode Island takes place on August 28, 2010, at the Bank of America Skating Center, Providence RI, from 3pm-11pm. It's free to attend, and it's free to exhibit. If you have a project that you'd like to show off, please visit the web site and click the Submission Form link there.
What's more, Maker Faire RI is happening at the same time as Maker Faire Africa, which will be represented by Steve Daniels who is launching his new book, Making Do: Innovation in Kenya's Informal Economy at Maker Faire RI.
If you'd like to volunteer, we could use your help too (you'll find a link to register as a volunteer at the Maker Faire RI web site). But there are plenty of ways to help as well; we've set up a Kickstarter project where you can donate (and we have some cool rewards for people who donate at the $10 or $50 level). But above all, you can help the most by coming and exploring the projects and makers we'll have exhibiting. You can see the list of confirmed makers right here. But keep checking back because we are still adding exhibitors.