If you’ve ever been to one of the large Maker Faires, like the World Maker Faire in New York or the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, you’ll know that there really is no other event that compares. These events are fun, exhilarating, inspiring, but also crowded and exhausting. The amount of people that go through a Maker Faire is equivalent to a small city on its own.
Attending one of these larger events is a wonderful experience. Especially if you’re properly prepared.
Here is a breakdown of some of the necessities of the Maker Faire survival kit. Some apply more to people who are there as an exhibitor, others apply more to attendees. If you’re going to be there all day though, you might just want to bring all of these things!
Pictures, pictures, pictures! You’re going to want pictures of things. Not only are there amazing things to see, there are so many amazing things that by the time you get home you may have forgotten those you wished to remember. Ever seen something neat and thought “ooh, I’ll have to give that a try at home!”? Well, you’re going to have that thought 100 times at Maker Faire, some pictures will help.
There’s also your Faire friends to remember. For many of us, the Faire is a time to reconnect with friends who live far away. Our yearly reunion to hug and to catch up. You’ll probably want pictures of those too.
Your phone additionally serves as a communication and logistics tool. With the Maker Faire app, you can see what is happening where, and at what time. Not to mention the fact that text messaging seems to be the preferred method of communication across the event.
Staying hydrated at these big events is extremely important. Bring a water bottle. There are places where you can get a drink, but having a water bottle can save you a lot of time and effort. We don’t want people getting dehydrated and you don’t want to have to go to the on-site medic. Bring water!
This year, we’re putting out a water bottle refill station! Check your maps for Science Avenue, that’s where it will be located.
Much of Maker Faire is outdoors. You may not think of Maker Faire as a place where sunburn is a risk, but it is. Those pesky sunburns sneak up on you, especially if the Faire is on a somewhat overcast day. You may not realize that you just spent two hours wandering around exposed to the sun because you’re having too much fun, but that sunburn the next day will remind you.
This only takes a second at any of the area stations you encounter. You fill out a waiver and in exchange you get a wristband that lets you do the hands-on activities available. Want to give a try at a blacksmith station, ride crazy art bikes, or solder some parts? You’ll need a safety wristband for that!
At every Maker Faire you’ll hear, “oh man, my phone’s battery is about to die!” When you’re taking pictures, checking schedules, and texting other attendees, your battery wears down quick. Stopping at an outlet for a charge can end up being a painful exercise in waiting when there are fun things just out of sight. A battery pack can really extend the life of your devices and keep you mobile all day long!
For those with children, this is a no brainer. We have a booth where we can match your child with you, and you’re the only one that can leave the gate with them. It is safe and it is smart. The crowds are huge and the distractions are numerous. Get that child wristband!
Fresh Socks and Shoes
These events are absolutely packed with things to see. Getting from one side to the other is quite a feat, but then you’ll remember you wanted to go back and see something you missed. After a day of this your feet can get pretty tired. If you’re just there to browse, you might skip on a mid-day sock freshening. If you’re an exhibitor though, you may find that a fresh pair of socks — or even shoes — are a life saver. The staff will sometimes have a fresh pair of shoes waiting for a mid-day tag in.
Business Cards and/or a Notebook
The ability to network at Maker Faire is pretty crazy. You’ll be elbow to elbow with people who are inventing crazy things, investing in crazy things, designing crazy things, or just seem like cool people. New friends are made at every Maker Faire and a business card or a notebook ends up being a lifesaver.
If you don’t have a ticket yet, you can buy one today. What else would you want to have in your Maker Faire survival kit?
4 thoughts on “What’s in Your Maker Faire Survival Kit?”
I drove 4 hours to go to my first Maker Faire year in the bay area. It is such an amazing concept! I finally felt like I was around “my people.” My suggestion for a “Survival Kit” would be for the us not to need a survival kit (I know, how meta). The faire was so crowded that it significantly took away from the experience. It made Disneyland or the State Fair look like ghost towns. Even walking felt strained. I am thrilled that Maker Faire is so successful and I can’t wait for an opportunity to go again, but please consider a larger venue (maybe with some parking?) or limit ticket sales. What can I say, you’ve outgrown your shell. That’s awesome, but it needs addressing :)
Great list, heading there Saturday. Battery backup is key. And mass transit is always a good idea, especially with the Pope leaving out of JFK at 8:40AM Saturday.
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