noco pinball

Colorado may be home to skiers and snowboarders, but earlier this month the makers came out to play. The NoCo Mini Maker Faire brought these innovators together at Colorado’s first Maker Faire event. Makers set up shop in Loveland, Colo., for Saturday’s event, and curious attendees eagerly arrived from across the state. The inaugural Maker Faire drew 3,300 attendees, who took part in DIY activities, chased droids and robots, designed and constructed paper crafts, mini gardens, and race cars, all while learning about the growing number of makerspaces, hackerspaces, craft guilds, and companies in the area.

“Our goal is not just to create a one-day event. It is to help innovators of all ages leverage this Maker Faire to create more opportunities for youth makers, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners,” said Elise Weiland, Executive Director of Making Progress L3C, producer of the NoCo Mini Maker Faire.

The 120+ makers included a Nerdy Derby, a miniature car-building and racing competition organized by Metropolitan State University of Denver. Music and video installations were quite popular as attendees danced, whistled, clapped, and sang their way to light and sound visualizations throughout the day in the SoundPuddle and The Combobulator.

Another exhibit stopping participants mid-stride was The Science and Engineering of Pinball — an extraordinary collection of pinball “guts” and how they work. In addition, families clogged the aisle to see The Northern Colorado Weavers Guild from Loveland demonstrate fiber and textile projects while instructing curious attendees in the artform.

Action Works VEX Robotics Competition co-located with the NoCo Mini Maker Faire for their FLL scrimmage and a VEXIQ scrimmage. The VEX skill challenges students to stay in robotics throughout high school, and held their yearly robotics competition at Maker Faire. Also co-located, The Global Cardboard Challenge proved a creative and entertaining activity, as makers devised new ways to assemble cardboard into forts, robots, and wearable constructions.

The NoCo Mini Maker Faire was a hit with the community who thronged to Loveland’s Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology to see 3D printers in action, robotic cars, cranes, and a talking robotic head, recycled art crafts, steampunk designs, a vintage printing press, R2D2s, and a full-sized replica of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder from Far Away Creations.


Karen Corliss is the Maker Happiness Coordinator for the NoCo Mini Maker Faire.

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