photo by Kelby Price
photo by Kelby Price

In June, we told you that folks were planning the first Louisville Maker Faire, to be held in conjunction with NuLu Festival as part of the “official afterparty for IdeaFestival.” This past weekend, several people involved with the Faire took their planning on the road and attended the Detroit Maker Faire, the third largest of its kind in the U.S.

Christine Vaughan, chair of NuLu Festival, and Elizabeth Rounsavall and Kelby Price, coordinators for the Louisville Maker Faire, made the 12-hour round-trip road-trip to Detroit last weekend. Vaughan says it was a last minute decision to go for her and Rounsavall and that Price joined at the very last minute.

Members of LVL1, Louisville’s hacker space, were also in attendance at the Maker Faire.

What’s a Maker Faire? The Louisville Maker Faire website explains:

The Louisville Mini Maker Faire will be a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.

A Maker Faire, like Art, fits in the category of “you’ll know it when you see it.”

Possibly the only two Storm Troopers who were not at Fandom Fest this weekend. With Christine Vaughan. Photo by Kelby Price
Possibly the only two Storm Troopers who were not at Fandom Fest this weekend. With Christine Vaughan. Photo by Kelby Price

The Detroit event was held at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mi. on one of the corporate campuses of Ford. The two-day Faire was huge, says Vaughan. She estimated between 10-12,000 people.

The event featured inventors and crafters in booths, showing off their work. It also featured participatory events– Vaughan, Rounsavall and Price made and launched rockets– and performances like a “Coke and Mentos” choreographed explosion and a life-sized “Mousetrap” game.

Young people participated in abundance. There was a high school Rube Goldberg Machine competition and student groups from as far away as Pennsylvania.

One of the takeaways from the event, says Vaughan, is that the Louisville Faire needs to track down these kinds of student groups in town, and if they don’t exist, help cultivate them.

photo by Kelby Price
photo by Kelby Price

Vaughan says current applications for the Louisville Maker Faire lean toward the “craft” side, not the “invention” side, and the Faire hopes to balance that out over the next month.

One of the best parts of the Faire was that it was held in conjunction with a museum and extended into the actual museum. “We’d love to get the Science Museum involved in the future,” said Vaughan.

Applications to participate in the Faire are open until September 8 and available online. NuLu Festival will take up the 700 block of E. Market. The Faire will be on the 800 block from noon- 6 p.m.

If you know of student groups who would be interested in participating, please contact the organizers.

Rocketeers Vaughan, Price and Rounsavall
Rocketeers Vaughan, Price and Rounsavall

Upcoming regional Maker Faires:

Fort Wayne, In.
September 14 – 15

September 28

Columbus, Oh.
October 13

October 19

October 26


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