Half an hour before the opening of the first Maker Faire in (Hannover) Germany this past weekend we suspected it would be a success. A long queue of visitors stretched before the door. And the best thing for us was that so many families with children had gathered to admire the projects of the makers, the exhibitions, the performances, and flight shows.
Soon after the doors opened, the first children romped into the workshop tent outside to learn how to solder. Inside the main hall there was plenty to look, touch, try and make: 3D printers, light objects, robots, steampunk creations, quadcopters, paper art, cars driven by cordless screwdrivers, a cooker controlled by a Raspberry Pi, and much more. Retro fans were able to chat with almost primeval telex technology from 1950. The German Amateur Radio Club was also represented as an exhibitor. Over head, an Arduino-controlled zeppelin cruised through the hall. Despite the high summer temperatures the atmosphere was very relaxed and happy. You could read the enthusiasm on most visitors’ faces.
In the adjacent park a hovercraft with a chair on it (“Chair Force One”) drew a lot of attention from a loud misfire. Students built it in just four days. The community of Autoquad used Maker Faire for their international annual meeting. Attending were copter pilots and developers from the U.S., Spain, Poland, Denmark, Germany, and other countries. Meanwhile in the pond, a remote controlled shark was chasing the ducks.
Two stars of the Maker Faire Hanover were the robot “afreakin bass player” and “Sir Elton Junk” by Berlin artist Kolja Kugler. Every hour they performed in front of a crowd and received wide acclaim.
Overall there were 85 booths with 250 makers, 20 speakers, and nearly 5,000 visitors, much more than we expected. And the feedback from the speakers, makers, and visitors was clear: please do it again. A demand, we hopefully will fulfill.
Here are some scenes from the fair:
Alfons Schraeder was a co-organizer of Maker Faire Hannover and is general manager of the Heise Zeitschriften Verlag GmbH & Co. publishing group. Daniel Bachfeld was a co-organizer of Maker Faire Hannover and is editor-in-chief of c’t Hardware Hacks
The Road to Maker Faire Challenge will award $2,500 to one winner to bring his or her project to World Maker Faire on Sep. 21 & 22, 2013 in New York. Use the funding for materials, transport, or anything else you might need to get to Maker Faire. Applications are due by 11:59pm PT on August 5, 2013.