Whether you like football or not, tailgate season is coming. Want your makerspace to join in the fun? Here’s how to add some technology to the event for some unique maker dinner fun and raise some money for your space!

Breaking bread is a great way to convert strangers into friends and if you add a technology component, will create a lasting memory and will help raise money and awareness for your space.

Just gather your robotic and electronic members to help create some cool ways to dispense the food and drink at a future event. Here are some ideas:

Robotic Bartenders

Develop a robot or just an actuator arm that dispenses  beer- Robotic Bartenders always inspire the thoughts  the ideal application for robots.

Remote Control Waiters-

Set up remote control race cars and trucks to carry wagons loads of appetizers so guests can pick the snacks they want.

CHOO CHOO Food Trays

Set up a model train track and periodically food emerges from a train pulled tray for guests to sample.

Drone Hot Dog Bombers

Set a tarp on the ground to be a drop zone for attendees to hold out their hotdog buns to receive drone dropped hotdogs from the sky.  See what Oskar Mayer is working on.

Drone Delivered Pizzas– See this Dominoes is already testing their version. Lets get makers to develop their own versions.


Pancakebot FUNraisers

Before the event print up at least  50 custom designed pancakes with your logo or other popular designs, cook pancakes, wrap in wax paper, the during the event heat up and serve. These premade pancakes will help address the demand, then during the event, allow selected attendee to make their own. Perhaps charge $10 for premade and $20 for custom pancakes since they take longer.

Adult Big Wheel racing

In Chattanooga, makers build giant big wheels then have adults race a lap, drink a beer, race a lap then drink a beer, and so on and so on until the entire crowd is exhausted and woozy.  Just to enter they charge $10/ adult and all proceeds go to a charity.

LCD Projected Slides on a building

Create an Off the Wall Community Kiosk with an LCD projector make announcemens, upcoming events, classes, etc. In Greensboro, NC, students’ art work was scanned and displayed on a 20 by 20 foot vinyl sheet. Parents were brought downtown to see the talent of their kids. Great way to promote your technology tailgate party.

Home Made Instrument Orchestra

To entertain your guests, invite your makers to create their own instruments and perform during the event. Cigar Box Guitars, Canjos, drum boxes, Thorminators  and perhaps add a Tesla Coil music display too.

Home Made Boomerang Maker challenges

At a nearby field allow makers to see if they made a homemade boomerang or just a stick. (the difference is the boomerang comes back to thrower)

Solar Powered Ovens

Add a skewer to a Pringles can, open a section, then cook hotdogs via the sun. Also add aluminum foil to a pizza box, then  cook pizzas, pancakes, biscuits with the sun.

Liquid Nitrogen Drinks-

Warning this can be dangerous but with some careful mixing you can make some cool concoctions.

Hot Head Contest

You can set up some bagels, add some hot sauce, set up an infrared camera and be ready for the screams. See what happened to Santa when he tried a dose of Liquid Stupid. He was seen flying quickly back to the North Pole.

Everyone is fascinated by technology and everyone loves food, so it makes sense to fuse the two together and raise maker awareness and funds to continue your efforts to grow the maker movement.

Technology Tailgate parties can help you raise money by charging a little admission, also you can secure some sponsorship funds by local merchants and capture community enrichment credits for winning future grants.  If properly promoted you should be able to raise several hundred if not thousands of dollars to your space. Also with all of the promotion may uncover more sponsors, members, supporters, and perhaps equipment donations to your spaces.

If you got any suggestions of other FUN Raising activities please share with [email protected]