Big Weekend for Mini Maker Faires on the East Coast

Big Weekend for Mini Maker Faires on the East Coast

We’re still recovering from World Maker Faire New York, but the maker fun isn’t over on the East Coast. There are three mini maker faires set for this weekend: the Lewiston-Auburn Mini Maker Faire in Maine, the Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire in Maryland, and the Champlain Mini Maker Faire in Vermont.

Lewiston-Auburn Mini Maker Faire: Sept. 28 
This fair is celebrating its second year and will pack a lot of action into the weekend. Highlights include performances from Maker Faire Bay Area and World Maker Faire favorites Eepybird Studios, the two-man duo behind the Coke Zero/Mentos extravaganza. The Eepybird team of Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe are based in Buckfield, ME. The fair will offer a door prize to tour Eepybird Studios.

The Iron Man of Maine at World Maker Faire New York this past weekend.

Also be sure to check out “the Iron Man of Maine”Thomas Lemieux.The Oakland, ME resident has created a realistic replica of the  Iron Man suit made out of plastic and foam rubber. The suit features LEDs, sound effects, arm repulsors, voice changers, sound boards, mobile gloves, and more.

The fair will also feature Mad Science of Maine, a science education program for kids;  Modular Origami & Mathematical GamesOpenBCI: EG for Makers, calligraphy workshops, hackers, crafters and, robotics.

Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire: Sept. 29
The Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire — the first Maker Faire in the Washington D.C. area — will highlight local professional makers including the Smithsonian Institution’s Digitization Program Office 3D Lab, buoy-making by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a whole room full of NASA space exhibits including a high capacity centrifuge and silicone mold making workshop.

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One of the featured speakers on the “Inventors in Our Midst” stage series is Cori Lathan, who left her career as an engineer with NASA to create her own robotics company — AnthroTronix. The company invented a game that can be used in the field to test whether a soldier has suffered a traumatic brain injury and a glove interface to help soldiers communicate in the field. Lathan invented a play robot that helps children with cerebral palsy.

The fair also will feature more than a dozen exhibits presented by young makers and talks from about their ideas and projects.

KID Museum is organizing the fair. The museum, which plans to have its own makerspace when the fair opens, focuses on encouraging creativity and nurturing an innovator mindset and sense of inquiry.

“Our kids need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers,” says Cara Lesser, Founder and CEO of KID Museum. “The Mini Maker Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds, and helping them to become critical thinkers.”

Champlain Mini Maker Faire: Sept. 28-29 
The inaugural Champlain Mini Maker Faire featured over 50 makers and drew a crowd of more than 1,300. This year, more than 60 makers are scheduled to participate.

“The goal of the Champlain Mini Maker Faire is to help renew a culture of innovation within the community, to foster innovation and creativity, and to engage youth in science, engineering and technology. We’re thrilled with the success to last year’s Faire, and are gearing up for a bigger and better event this year,” says Executive Event Producer Doug Webster.

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This year’s Champlain Mini Maker Faire will feature Bina48, a robot that uses artificial intelligence to mimic human personality and to carry on a conversation. Bina48 is one of the world’s most advanced social robots, and was created to explore the concept that a person’s “mindfile” – a compilation of his or her memories, beliefs and feelings – could one day be used to re-animate their consciousness.

Other projects include work from FIRST Robotics Team 885 and community group Vermont Makers, soldering with Laboratory B, Junk Music, 3D printing, build your own robots, launch your own rockets, smokeless s’mores, and an 8-foot-tall dragon.

Can’t make it? Check out MakerSim, a fair simulation that takes you there.

Check out the whole line-up here.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook