The countdown is on. Maker Faire Detroit is July 27-28 and it falls between our two biggest fairs of the year — Maker Faire Bay Area (May 18-19) and World Maker Faire New York (Sept. 21-22). It’s a special fair in a special place.

Detroit has always been a maker’s city. The city’s rise and fall from Motor City to bankruptcy has been well-chronicled. (If you haven’t seen Requiem for Detroit be sure to watch it; it offers a critical history of the Motor City. Or in a shameless plug, check out a documentary I co-created for PBS on urban agriculture. The Detroit segment starts at 16:25).


From left, Leah Green, 9, of Troy, Erik Jenkins, 9, of Royal Oak, and Emma Green interact with a robot during Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich. Sunday, July 29, 2012. (Gary Malerba for The Henry Ford)

TED Motor City

Dale Dougherty.

Less well known is the remaking of Detroit. While the city is still down, it’s far from out and Maker Faire Detroit is all about celebrating the spirit and practice of making that never left the city. Detroit Maker Faire is a celebration of clever inventions and gadgets, but it’s first and foremost a celebration of people — makers. Maker Faire Detroit will showcase more than 400 makers so expect to see the city of makers on full display.

If you go be sure to check out MAKE CEO and founder Dale Dougherty’s presentation on Saturday at 1:30-2:30pm entitled “Why We Make.” It’s a subject near and dear to Detroiters.


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.

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