Calling All Makers, Performers, Presenters

Craft & Design Education Technology
Calling All Makers, Performers, Presenters

Did you know there are lots of different ways to participate in the 2013 Maker Faire Bay Area?

Is 2013 your year?

Maker Faire’s Call for Makers is open and closes March 15. Use the link to apply for a maker exhibit (a booth/display lasting the whole weekend), a presenter (a 10-, 20- or 45-minute presentation on stage) or a performer (a stage-based or roving music or entertainment act). Read through the whole Call for Makers page for details. It’s packed with information, including links to PDF versions of the questions in the online application so you can work it all out ahead of time.


If you don’t want to go it alone, you can also find a group that’s putting together a show or exhibit and join in helping them build and run it. Here is a couple of organizations I know that are planning a collaborative display or activity at the fair:

Young Makers: The Young Makers programs helps kids ages 12-17 put together a project for Maker Faire by connecting them with mentors and fabricators. You can get more info on their site, or in this write-up.

Power Racing: The Power Racing Series invites teams to “strip down and build up kids’ power wheels cars” and then race them at the fair. You can get more info on their site and here.

I’m sure there’s more out there-link them in the comments!


And if you just want to generally help out with making the fair happen, a great option is to sign up for the Maker Corps, the awesome volunteers who help organize and run things. The application isn’t up yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it goes live.


You can simply attend the fair and enjoy all the wild creativity on display. Early Bird Tickets are available now for a great price, but only until March 15.

More Info on Maker Exhibit Applications

I had a Maker Exhibit last year, so here’s a few pieces of advice I have about applying for that particular category:

1) Take cool photographs or a video. Sometimes it can be hard to describe creative, artistic, and interactive things via text. A picture or video conveys a lot. Some of your photos may be used in Maker Faire promotional material, too, so try and take high-quality shots.

2) Figure out something interactive. Showing off your cool project is great, but people really get engaged when there’s something they can do or contribute to. There are lots of options for an interactive exhibit: an object fair-goers can take apart and reassemble to see how it works, a take-away set of instructions for making their own version, a hands-on craft or activity they can do there, a collaborative project they can add to, or just a button or lever they can touch to make something happen.

Steampunk Academy activities at the 2012 MFBA
Steampunk Academy activities at the 2012 MFBA

3) Think about staffing. You don’t have to completely sort it out at this point, but it’s good to think a bit about how many people you will need to run the exhibit. Remember, you will want to be able to take restroom breaks, get food, and even see some of the fair yourself. Think about whether you know other people who will be exhibiting (or encourage your friends to do so if they aren’t considering it already). You might find someone to share a booth with, splitting the responsibility of setup and staffing. There’s also a section on the form to request to be near specific other booths; if you get place near your friends, you can take turns covering each other’s booths. Of course, you can also always make friends with your neighbors when you get there.

Steampunk Academy booth: A group of affiliated Makers sharing a space.
Steampunk Academy booth: A group of affiliated Makers sharing a space.

4) On a more practical note, if you start filling out your application and then get distracted and close the page, you can retrieve it.  (It took me a little while to realize this.) When you go back to the Call for Makers site, you should see “Your Account” in the top bar, by the search box. From your account page, you can pull up any partial applications that haven’t been finished.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of this, in the comments below or by emailing me:

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I am a technology researcher and designer; a Steampunk prop maker and costumer; a writer of both academic papers and blog posts; a voracious reader/watcher of science fiction. I am currently contributing to MAKE by writing about the Maker Faire. You can contact me via

View more articles by Karen Tanenbaum


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