Midwest in the house! One of the longest-running Maker Faires in the world will be gathering over 350 makers this weekend, June 23 + 24, for the 8th annual Maker Faire Kansas City, hosted by Union Station Kansas City, a 100-year-old hub of culture, education, and entertainment. Last year, the event welcomed nearly 18,000 attendees from 33 states and 2 countries, and those numbers are sure to grow this year as word spreads about how inspiring, educational, and fun Maker Faire Kansas City truly is.

We spoke with organizing team member Margaret Hoang, who shared with us the benefits of having Union Station Kansas City as the parent organization of Maker Faire Kansas City:

Union Station Kansas City’s mission is dedicated to science education, celebration of community, and preservation of history — which leads to great support of the Faire. Union Station is open and receptive to all ideas, innovation, and opportunities for the Faire to expand and grow. With Union Station and the community’s support, we’ve been able to grow Maker InspirED from a one-day, two-hour workshop to a free half-day workshop for educators that occurs the Friday before the Faire and mini-meetings held throughout the year.

Hoang also lent insight into the Kansas City maker community:

The Kansas City maker community is an extremely diverse group. From technology to fabrication, to food and crafts, there is a resource center for anyone interested. I believe our midwest roots have really created a stable foundation to encourage and promote the Maker Movement. The Kansas City maker community continues to grow every year. It’s given more opportunities to network and share resources amongst everyone.

7 Sights of Maker Faire Kansas City

With 350 makers showcased, there will most certainly be something for everyone at Maker Faire Kansas City. We encourage you to check out the full lineup of makers and browse the jam-packed schedule of demos, workshops, talks, and performances. On the flip side, you might want to just work your way around the Faire organically and discover new and amazing projects and people. Either way, you’re guaranteed to leave inspired, informed, and wearing a smile. Here are just a small selection of the wonders that await you this weekend at Maker Faire Kansas City!

Science in the Movies

Stunt and special effects coordinator Steve Wolf is out to inspire kids to be interested in science with his very unique shows. Science in the Movies travels to schools around the world sharing the excitement of science by revealing how movie stunts and special effects are all based on physics and chemistry. He’ll be offering multiple engaging shows each day. Check the schedule for details.

Shows include:

  • The Chemistry (and fun) of Movie Snow
  • The Chemistry (and fun) of Movie Rain
  • Movie Special Effects – Pyro and Explosions
  • Stunt Physics High Fall Airbags

Ascension Pyramids

By day, Ryan Larkin is the front end supervisor at the Home Depot and the Team Depot Captain for community involvement for Leavenworth, Kansas. By night he creates Ascension Pyramids, one-of-a-kind art pieces. Each pyramid is carefully handcrafted for up to three days using exotic crystals imported from India, super-magnets, and ferromagnetic metals to create a beautiful work of art. LED bases then elevate them to the next level.

Scorch Works Homemade Tools

Scorch Works produces free CNC and laser control software, as well as a whole array of impressive homemade tools, including a spot welder, stick welder, Gingery lathe, and a manual injection molding machine, many of which will be on display. Items made using the homemade welders will also be on display. Take home a complimentary injection molded item made from recycled plastic live at the Faire!

Ashley’s Artisan Cakes Chocolate Mold Workshop

Ashley Ozment is a self-taught baker and “caker” who loves to help people create the centerpiece of their party. With a background in theater and in prop making, there’s nothing she loves more than creating something that’s not only unique but that can also be tasted and enjoyed. At Maker Faire Kansas City, she’ll be leading hourly workshops where you can learn how to work with moldable chocolate and leave with a tasty Makey! Check the schedule for details. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share her awesome Stranger Things custom cake below!

Game of Fire

Maker extraordinaire Kathy Cannistra is bringing her carnival-styled interactive fire art installation, Game of Fire. Test your throwing skills for a payoff with a bang! Work together with friends to hit all targets at the same time and trigger the special effects: teamwork! Kathy has been a maker and artist for as long as she can remember. She has a formal background in art and education. She’s a professional developer of interactive educational exhibits and has a passion for combining art and science education.

One Bit Interactive Geodesic Dome

Postdoctoral researcher Jon Bumstead focuses his research on the development of novel optical neuroimaging systems. In his spare time, he loves to build projects at the intersection of art and engineering, like One Bit, the interactive geodesic LED dome consisting of 120 triangles with an LED and sensor at each triangle. Each LED can be addressed individually and each sensor is tuned specifically for a single triangle. The dome is programmed with an Arduino to light up and produce a MIDI signal depending on which triangle you place your hand on.

Power Racing Series

The Power Racing Series is going to be hard to miss at Maker Faire Kansas City, and you really won’t want to. This incredibly fun race pits teams against one another in a competition of raw engineering prowess meets big sparkling moxie! The gist: Each team has a spending limit of $500 to mod a children’s ride-on car into a racing machine. To top it off, they have to throw in costumes and high jinx to win the crowd approval.

All the information you need to join the fun at this weekend’s Maker Faire Kansas City is on the website!