Something new is growing in the Garden State. The first New Jersey Makers Day will be held on Saturday March 21st. It’s a statewide event that celebrates the maker movement, taking place in every county.”It’s a little different then a Maker Faire,” says FUBAR Labs member Paul Gentile. “They have 150 locations doing events at the same time.”
Over 100 locations are libraries, but there are also schools, makerspaces, community groups, museums, and businesses. The AC Moore Arts and Crafts chain is a supporting sponsor, and has 17 locations participating.
LibraryLinkNJ and LittleBits are major sponsors of the event. LittleBits donated Premium LittleBits kits to almost 50 locations. Maker Media is listed among the sponsors as well. There will be pre-recorded keynote speeches from U.S. Senator Cory Booker, the former governor of Newark, and Cory Doctorow, co-editor of the popular Boing Boing blog.
FUBAR Labs, NJ’s first hackerspace, has members attending to help out at several locations. Soldering Sundays, a group that was founded by two FUBAR members, focuses on creating easy and affordable projects for makers. They donated 1000 of their kits to the event.
This may be the first time that a state has held an event of this scale to promote maker culture. In addition to being a great opportunity to spark entrepreneurship and innovation, the event organizers and partners are hoping that an investment in makers will promote development of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related jobs in the state.
Doug Baldwin and Allen McGinley from the Piscataway Public Library are two key organizers of the event. “We’re drawing on the rich history of invention and manufacturing in New Jersey,” says Allen McGinley. “NJ Makers Day will demonstrate how dynamic and expansive maker culture has become in our state, and hopefully show how vital this culture is to economic success.”
It will be very interesting to see how the event is received, and if other states will follow New Jersey’s example.