photo-4If you’re still on the fence about coming down to NuLu Festival, all we can say is, “Really?”

Two hours in, it’s clear this NuLu is going to be rocking till midnight. So many new faces here this year including our booth neighbors, West Sixth Brewing Co. from Lexington.

But the biggest change for 2013 NuLu Festival is the mega-expansion down the 800 block of East Market, dedicated to dozens of displays of dazzling technical wizardry at Maker Faire booths and demonstrations.

We decided to entice you down with the Nine Nifty Nerdy Displays You Must See:

No. 1 – The Device, courtesy of Newton’s Attic from Lexington. This bungee cord-powered inertia-coaster is set up in the middle of the block, so you can’t miss it. At 2 p.m., the line to ride was long. The roller coaster demonstrates Newton’s First Law of Motion:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Who cares, right? The cool thing is, kids jump on a small seat and get rocketed to the top of a 50-foot-long rail that curves up just enough to keep them from ending up in the middle of Fourth Street Live, 10 blocks away. Thrilling!

Newton’s Attic is a non-profit foundation in Lexington where the mission is to “challenge young people with unique educational experiences that allow them to apply technical knowledge in situations that are meaningful and relevant to them.”

No. 2: Blowing Up Watermelons With Your Mind. Brad Luyester, president of LVL1, the Louisville hacker space, will personally show you how to do this only if you promise to use your new powers for good. LVL1 put together this year’s Maker Faire.

No. 3: Powertool Drag Racing, also by LVL1. The track is at the far east side of the Maker Faire block. Has to been seen to be believed. Racing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

No. 4: Nerdy Derby. At this elaborate booth, kids build their own race cars, then square off on a drag racing track.

IMG_2693No. 5: Grand Haven Musical Fountain. Dennis Page from Beverly Hills, Mich. brought down this fanciful PVC-based fountain that has programmed music and light. Coolest after dark. “Two-thirds of the show is the lights,” Page told us.

No. 6: The University of Louisville’s Student Launch Projects Team has built a huge, solid propellant rocket maybe 10-feet long. The rocket is part of a competition project to send up sensors at least one mile. By the rules, the rocket has to be 100-percent recoverable. So, the team created inflatable wings hooked to a GPS so it knows its way back home! The rocket can be fitted with a nuclear warhead in case relations sour with Southern Indiana.

No. 7: 3-D Printer Zoo at the Speed Local Art Museum offices at 822 E. Market. Local maker macher Chris Cprek will demonstrate every sort of 3-D printer in captivity from homemade versions to the latest generation printers from U of L’s Rapid Prototyping Lab.

The U of L boomerang rocket.

No. 8: Engineers of Tomorrow, a locally based group of kids and parents into engineering, have their robotics team inventions on display. One robot shoots basketballs at the competition, the other frisbees. Crazy stuff your kids might want to learn more about. Engineers of Tomorrow, an independent program with students in Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Henry and Bullitt counties.

No. 9: LVL1’s booth includes multiple diabolical demonstrations. All we can say is, “Shocking!”

Come early and stay late. The Mayor of Gillville, Gill Holland, is estimating NuLuFest crowds will hit 20,000 people this year. The sun is hot, the beer is cold and the music smokin’.


Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.


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