Last weekend, we had a gathering of Maker Faire producers from all over the world. They met in Miami and share tips, frustrations, and inspiration that they’ve picked up while running faires. In 2016, we had nearly 200 Maker Faires in 38 countries. There’s a lot of trial and error involved in something so wide spread and diverse and this group comes together to help make each other’s faires better.

38 countries had Maker Faires in 2016. Click to find one near you

38 countries had Maker Faires in 2016. Click to find one near you

If you don’t run a Maker Faire or volunteer at one, this gathering may not seem that interesting at a glance. I don’t run one myself, but I have to say that the inspirational stories that were shared really got me pumped and excited for the next year.

There were a few examples of people, typically kids, getting inspired by things at faires and going on to build businesses. The story that really stood out the most to me was about a volunteer.

We had this volunteer at our last event who was just a giant, he was just huge. And he came over to me, because he had been volunteering for a couple years, and he said: “I don’t fit these shirts! This just doesn’t work for me. I feel unappreciated. ” And we said to go over to building 61, they’re doing a costume hackathon! And its just a silly little thing about hacking your own world, right?

So he took these small shirts that would not fit the giant, and he went over to building 61, and they pulled it apart and they made him this really awesome apron. They took out the logos and made pockets out of the extra shirt. He came back and his whole face was beaming! He was just like: “Nobody’s ever treated me this well! For once, something works for me!” and he just went on the whole rest of the day, smiling and happy.

-Elise VanDyne from Colorado

The event was sponsored by MANOMiami Dade College, and the Knight Foundation, and they did a fantastic job, both showing us the things the city is doing that incorporate the maker mindset and also taking us to the local makerspace, the Moonlighter, which was awesome.

0002

I had a blast and I truly believe that this event is quickly becoming an absolute necessity for folks who run Maker Faires, if even just for the networking and understanding ears.

For more information on how you can run a Faire, check out the details here.