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MF_100Faires_v42013 was a banner year over here at Maker Media. Not only did we roll out as an independent company, but Maker Faire hit its stride, ending up with a magic number at the end of 2013: exactly 100 Maker Faires across the globe!

More than 530,000 people experienced a Maker Faire in 2013. The robust growth of the Maker Movement is evidenced by the sheer increase of Maker Faire events held across the globe, and in the growth of total attendance:  64% more in 2013 than 2012 — and 335% more than 2011!

Our flagship New York and Bay Area events also continued to grow, with New York increasing 36% in its fourth year to welcome 75,000 people over two days.

But the rise in “Mini” Maker Faires — smaller scale, independently produced, local events — is where the story is. A total of 93 Mini Maker Faires graced the globe in 2013, compared to just 56 in 2012 (just glance at the red in the graph below). “Communities are getting involved in charting their own future and celebrating making in so many ways that make sense in their own unique regions,” said Sherry Huss, vice president of Maker Media and co-founder of Maker Faire.

Maker Faire Eight Year Growth Slide.001

Fundamentally a gathering of makers and aspiring makers, Maker Faire builds connections among these individuals and organizations. As these communities grow, we’re seeing Maker Faire organizers influencing local “Maker Movement” initiatives in education, community development, and economic development. Some examples from 2013:

  • Local Maker Faires are creating a new center to showcase local startups and maker businesses. Six Chambers of Commerce in 2013 organized Maker Faires (e.g., Anchorage, Alaska to Louisville, LA to Rome, Italy to McAllen, TX), and more were involved via fiscal support or sponsorship (e.g. Santiago, Chile).
  • Maker Faire organizers are influencing local education initiatives, encouraging hands-on learning in Science, Technology, Math, Science (STEM) and Art (STEAM) curricula.
    • Maker Faire organizers in Westport, Conn. were recently involved in helping to pass School Board legislation to increase STEM curriculum.
    • East Bay Mini Maker Faire sponsor Park Day School in Oakland, Calif. has been a key participant in the Agency by Design project, a multiyear research and development initiative at Project Zero, a research organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Through classroom-based activities and action research, Project Zero is investigating and documenting ways to strengthen students’ cognitive development by way of design thinking and tinkering.
    • 27% of 2013 Maker Faire organizers — the largest share — were museums, institutions whose mission and business is to make learning engaging and entertaining, as well as to help teachers with resources, inspiration, and exciting curricula.
  • Many Maker Faire organizers are growing or starting Makerspaces, those community centers where makers share tools and knowledge. Thirteen of the 100 Maker Faires were sponsored by makerspaces themselves, and at least half of the 29 Maker Faire organizers that are museums or libraries are either operating a makerspace or tinkering studio out of their facility, or have one in the works.

It’s notable too that in 2013 demand for Maker Faires grew the most in Europe. Twenty Maker Faires were held in Europe during 2013 — up from just five in 2012. The largest-yet European Maker Faire was held in Rome with an astounding 35,000 attendees and more than 200 makers from all over Europe. Germany held its first Maker Faire in Hannover; Saint Malo held its first Faire event ever in France; Spain had its first two in Bilbao and in Barcelona.

What’s ahead for 2014? We’re seeing for the first time some regions (e.g., California’s Bay Area, the Netherlands, the state of Virginia) are having multiple fairs throughout the course of a single year. We all know deadlines increase productivity, and Maker Faire = the maker’s deadline, so it will be very interesting to try to measure what comes out of these geographic areas that have more Maker Faires.

But before we get excited about 2014, we want to take a moment to extend our thanks to those mostly volunteer organizers who put in the time and effort to celebrate the makers, to shine a spotlight on those creative, inventive, resourceful individuals who exemplify humans at their very best.

Congratulations to the 100 Maker Faires of 2013!

Asia

Australia

Europe

South America

North America / Canada

North America / United States

2014 event dates for all Maker Faires are available as they are announced at MakerFaire.com/map.

Information on how to create a local Maker Faire in your area can be found at http://makerfaire.com/mini/.

Sabrina Merlo

Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire’s licensing program for locally and independently produced “Mini” Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.


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