Paint splatters from a brush loaded into a power drill as a child adds her touch to a collaborative mural set up outside the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum in rural Bloomsburg, PA. Many of the mini-Picasso’s lined up to “paint with power tools” have never held a working power tool before. Nearby cardboard prototypes of game consoles are being assembled under the guidance of a retired technology teacher. Gears whir as a metal orb is gracefully transported around a kinetic sculpture created by a local clock-maker. College students show off the mechanical monstrosities they’ve engineered for a local Battle Bot competition while a local fiber guild shows families how to card and spin wool. Over in the “homesteading” section of the Faire, you can learn how to jar food, make a solar generator, farm mushrooms, or cook fine cuisine.
Each year since 2016, the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum has welcomed local makers to display their projects, share their passions, and to grow the regional makers community of all ages. This year, on April 23rd, it will host its 6th event: the Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire. It is the quintessential embodiment of what the Maker Movement is supposed to be: a grassroots effort to connect people with others to support innovation, invention, and ingenuity. Attendees who have visited Faires in larger cities tell organizers they enjoy the informal, intimate small town feel at the Bloomsburg Maker Faire.
In keeping with the small-town appeal of the event, the Faire attracts a few large commercial presenters but mostly artisans, inventors, crafters, skilled labors, students, and hobbyists from a large swatch of North-Central Pennsylvania. Many Makers come from isolated rural communities and do not have an opportunity to show what they create. At first blush, the eclectic gathering seems to have no underlying theme, but as visitors wander through the 60+ Maker booths, it becomes clear that it about the transfer of information, teaching of skills, and connecting to your community.
The venue for the Faire is unique too. The Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire is set up throughout the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum and spills out into the streets surrounding the Museum giving it a street festival feel. The town of Bloomsburg sits along the Susquehanna River and is surrounded by farmlands. The people who attend the Faire come from communities already primed for self-sufficiency by virtue of the area they live in.
Calling All Scouts!
Boy and Cub Scouts, Daisy, Brownies, and Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to earn a Maker Patch by learning a few new skills at the Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire! Learn to solder, talk to a mushroom farmer, tool some leather, make a circuit, learn to model a 3D object, spin some wool, try out a hydraulic arm! We have close to 50 different activities to try, experts to talk to and workshops to attend. No registration is necessary, just ask for a patch program passport at the check-in desk. The event patch is offered to scouting organizations at no additional charge and earned by filling out a “passport” book showing the different skills the scout has tried. The number and difficulty of the skills needed are based on the age of the scout.
Meet the Makers!
HugMatch is an interactive toy for 2-5-year-old visually impaired and non visually impaired children. It stimulates the senses that develop at this age. Children are entertained by toys made with different fabrics and toys that can make sounds. They will learn how to communicate by touching and hugging HugMatch, which provides a variety of textures for the children to feel.
Gravity Line Forge: Paul Janusz is a blacksmith and will be doing forging demonstrations throughout the day. Stop by his booth to see a variety of l iron and copper hand forged housewares, seasonal items, iron Wine bottle holders, bottle openers, forged flowers, forged hearts, small sculptures, coffee scoops, and much more for sale.
Princesses with Powertools! Perfect for kids (and kids at heart)! Learn to use your first powertool from our amazing women engineers dressed as princesses, and find out why #brilliantisbeautiful! The goal of the program is to show everyone that feminity and engineering are not mutually exclusive. Too often, young girls are presented with the idea that they can be either a princess or an engineer. This program proves to everyone that they can be both. You’ll leave with a customized constellation projector you made yourself!
Playish Words:Portraits, Poems & Photography! Stop by their booth to see fine art nature photography incorporating poetry, framed typewritten poems, and chapbooks or workbooks. They will also have a micro portrait booth.
JainMakesArt! She will be selling art prints, stickers, greeting cards, and upcycled plant pots! Spin the wheel and find out your spirit animal.
Jain has loved creating ever since she could remember. The majority of her youth was spent on virtual pet sites, drawing and developing characters and their stories. Jain’s inspiration comes from all things fantasy, female empowerment, cute animals, and nature’s beauty. She feels most accomplished when her art makes people smile and brightens their world just a bit. Professionally she has illustrated two children’s books, paints murals, participates in arts shows, and continues to explore her talents through various mediums, techniques, and outlets.