Maker Faire -- a weekend-long celebration of all things DIY -- has a reputation for being flammable, ballsy, and weird. Those are all labels that participants and spectators wear proudly. But don't let that fool you. There are quieter aspects of Maker Faire too. The DIY tent that Make magazine has built over the last four years is big enough for growers and crafters to join geeks and hackers.
Maker Faire is taking to heart President Obama's call to "begin again the work of remaking America." The fair's theme this year is Remake America: Building a Sustainable Future. Organizers acknowledge this is a giant endeavor, but they believe makers are up to the task. And they have the power of Obama's words to back them up, when he celebrated "the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things" in his inaugural speech.
Makers take this kind of talk to heart. And this is a good moment for makers everywhere, who feel a recalibration taking hold, as more people turn to making and crafting instead of buying. For some people, that means growing tomatoes on a fire escape. For others, that means learning to harvest rainwater. Or harvesting components from an old laptop.
Maker Faire wants us all.
The event has been called craft fair-meets-science fair-meets county fair. It is all of those things. It feels a little rag-tag, a little dangerous, a little homey -- a lot exciting and creative.
This year, there's a new feature called the Homegrown Village, sponsored by Farm Aid. It targets a new crop of current and wanna-be homesteaders of all ambition levels. People who grow, preserve, build, brew, farm -- or want to learn how. There will be demonstrations on canning, composting, beekeeping, growing veggies, building solar ovens, using clotheslines, and saving seeds. Complete with plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty.
Of course, there will still be the pyrotechnics and demolition bots, and the world's largest Mousetrap game. Because Maker Faire is where science, craft, engineering and art intersect. We're all welcome.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: KQED is giving away tickets to the Maker Faire! Look for our tweet Wednesday afternoon (May 27) at twitter.com/KQED -- the first ten people to retweet will each get four tickets to the event. Good luck!
Maker Faire is on May 30 and 31, 2009 at the San Mateo County Expo Center. For more information, visit makerfaire.com.