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One of the group installations coming to this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place on May 22nd and 23rd at the San Mateo Fairgrounds, is M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights. A nostalgic throw-back to carnivals of old, this exhibit is a self-contained window into yesteryear, when the carnival would roll into town and create a magical environment. We conversed with Marcus Guillard of One Hat One Hand Productions for some insight, and it’s clear this crew walks the walk.

1. Tell us about the project(s) you’re bringing to Maker Faire.

M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights has been traveling the dusty roads of America’s great carnival past. Conjuring up memories of the traveling circus and images of America’s small towns, transformed by the arrival of the carnival.

M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights is proud to have completed its 2009 tour, traveling from San Francisco, Calif., to Austin, Texas, and back. With its first-ever appearances at Art Outside 2009 in Austin and the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco. If ever the dream of being a carnie were to be realized, we have certainly attempted. M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights is a full-scale five-game carnival midway.

M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway will bring to you:

Solvo Fervens Cani: The human-powered target-shooting booth.
The Great Airship Race: Take your aim, fill up your basket, and watch your airship fly the skies.
Bucksome Betty’s: Enter our burlesque tent, and watch these sexy ladies dance. Don’t be afraid, Madame Roadkill takes good care of her ladies and loves her patrons.
Last Call: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Step up and master the game you never mastered.
Put a Lid on It: Enjoy the comfort of M.T. Pockets’ VIP lounge. Enjoy wearing a fine hat? Now is your chance to master the skill of flipping your lid.

Are you in the need for a little life advice? Our very own fortune teller booth and one of our fine mystic’s would be happy to offer you just the advice your looking for. Win a game and get your prize. We have custom, handmade prizes and a gallery of fine works of art. You’re a Winner!” Please step over to our Midway Bazaar and our fine Mrs. Jessy Brown will be happy to make you a winner.

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M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights takes its inspiration from the traveling carnivals of the late 1920s and early 1930s. With five custom designed and fabricated carnival game tents, a 24-foot-tall center pole, a calliope, a fortune teller’s booth, and its very own Midway Bazaar, M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights provides 360 degrees of entertainment and enlightenment. “It’s cheap to play and free to look.”

M.T. Pockets Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights requires a 50-foot-diameter circular space to be fully installed as conceived; however, it has elasticity built into its design. The entire design can be installed in a row or as individual elements. As a full circle, the carnival creates a world of its own. The “rubes,” as once referred to, enter through the front opening, beckoned by the sounds of our very own Mrs. Jasmine on the calliope. Each game stands proud with its very own custom-painted sign in a marquee style. Our center pole and tent-style structure creates the illusion of the big top, but remains open to the night sky as to reference the open space of the small town carnival.

Our very own carnies come dressed and ready to work. Arriving by boxcar (a 26-foot box truck), the carnival is unloaded and set up over a 2-day period. Each custom-built wooden box and the tent is unpacked. The midway rises as the tents take their places and the games are set up. The lights turn on, the sounds cry out, and the carnies begin their call. “Step right up!” one calls out. “Come one, come al,l” another calls. These games are open for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Within moments the games are crowded and the carnival is alive. If ever you dreamt of the train showing up in your town and the carnival arriving, we have done our best to provide the opportunity to live that dream.

2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?

Having many friends in the maker community, we have been a part of the event for years, helping to create some of the works that have been a part of past events. Friends and family have been a part of the event since the beginning, helping with production and making the makings.

3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?

It’s a long story, but a simple one to tell. It starts a long time ago and carries on today. Don’t know what else to do.

4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?

The makers of the midway are a collection of great friends and coworkers, working out of a scenic shop in Bayview, San Francisco, Calif.

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5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?

Flying machines and hot air balloons.

6. What is your motto?

Make it up as you go!

7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?

Don’t be scared to start, and don’t let the money thing hold you back. Rely on good friends to help you.

Thank you, kind sir! For all the information you need about Maker Faire, including buying tickets online, check out the Maker Faire website. See you at the Faire!

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


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