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Amy Zimmer from Sebastopol, CA writes in:

I would love to go to the maker faire in San Mateo–but crowds flip me out! Do you have any suggestions or must sees for navigating for a crafty mostly gift giver type crafter (and maybe her two girls, ages 10 and 14)?

I think each of us experiences a bit of enochlophobia or agorophobia at some point during Maker Faire; there are just so many people! Well, Amy, you should definitely check it out, it’s a great event for the whole family, and here are some tips that might make the experience more enjoyable for you and everybody else who’s not at piece in a crowd of tens of thousands:

Buy your tickets in advance

Avoid the ticket line by buying your tickets online in advance.

Check the Maker Faire site regularly

In the weeks before Maker Faire, there will be more and more information published to the Maker Faire site including schedules of demos, makers who’ll be attending, and information about transportation to/from the Faire. This will help you know what to expect to see, which should make the visit a little less overwhelming

Make a loose plan for the day

Using the schedule provided online and onsite at the Maker Faire, decide which demos and events are a must for you and your girls (diet Coke and Mentos at 12:30? Soft circuit demo at 11am?), and then plan your day around those. Know which maker and crafter booths you want to get to, and allot time to get to them between time-specific events. By all means, also allow time for unexpected things to catch your eye, but having a plan of attack can help you feel in-control.

Shop early

If you plan to shop in the Maker Shed and Bazaar Bizarre, do it early in the day. Sure, you’ll have to carry around your purchases with you, but this is when the crowds are smaller in these parts of the Faire.

Find some quiet time

This one is the hardest tip to actually implement, but it can certainly help. Find a shady grassy spot to eat lunch or otherwise relax and reflect. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated (oh, what a difference it can make in your energy level and mood)!

I hope those tips are helpful to you, and that you’ll come out and see us at Maker Faire! Have you been to Maker Faire before and have tips for Amy? Share them in the comments below!

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