Rebuild Your Perspective at the Nashville Mini Maker Faire

By Justin Stokes

People saying that “America doesn’t make anything anymore” clearly haven’t heard of the Maker Movement filling Pinterest and Etsy with eye-candy and Christmas ideas for this holiday season.  

And for just a glorious little while, it’s going to give Music City “maker fever.”

Tomorrow will have the Nashville Mini Maker Faire at the Adventure Science Center. In years past, the event has bundled together interests in green technology, robotics, “whimsical technical creations,” and almost anything that may be made by the general public. Chalked up as “The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness,” with every year’s Faire reflects the technological trends and interests of the surrounding twelve months, and this year will be a new experience. In addition to the mini-exhibits and workshops for “garage tinkerers,” the Faire will feature a homemade submarine, a functioning BB-8 (of Star Wars: The Force Awakens fame), robot combat, and racing for both PowerWheels and drones.

Matt Kenigson, President of the 501c3 Make Nashville that puts the Nashville Mini Maker Faire together, brought Forward Beat up to speed via email. “Maker Faire is about wonder and possibility,” tells Matt. “When you attend a Maker Faire you are struck with entire new worlds ideas, projects, and demonstrations which spark your own creativity.  

“Every time I go to a Maker Faire I can’t wait to get home to try out something new I had never seen before and had never thought someone like me could create.  The insanely wonderful thing about Maker Faire is that it’s filled with things that didn’t come out of a big factory or manufactured a world away.  They’re things made by our friends and neighbors who, for one day of the year, come out and show off mind-blowing creations.”

The Maker Faire fixes on that same feeling young’uns got from playing with Lego sets or picking up a paintbrush for the first time. It eases those eager to learn into a limitless avenue of creation of all types, as well as cater to those canny creators who want to see what others are making. And it’s that interest in building, doing, and showing off that assembles the goodies on display for these Faires. And though DIY is the theory bedrocks the event, it wouldn’t be where it is without the cross-support of an engaged community.

Licensed from Make: Magazine and Maker Faire Global, the “Maker Faire” idea was first held in San Mateo, CA. In 2014, its ninth annual show had roughly 1100 makers and 130,000 in foot traffic. Events like this have spread to “over 120 community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires” over the world.

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On that, Kenigson told Forward Beat “When we started Make Nashville to support the maker movement we knew we wanted to bring Maker Faire to Nashville as a way to bring together the maker community in the region.  This is the fourth year we’ve done the event and this year we have the advantage of having opened Nashville’s first non-profit Makerspace to help support everything we do and to have a physical location for makers to congregate year-round.”

“The biggest thing is that making is for everyone and that we believe making transforms people’s lives, their communities, and our economy,” adds Matt. “That’s why we were recently invited to the White House for the Nation of Makers Conference.”

The people planning tomorrow’s event expect between 3,000 and 6,000 visitors this year. Readers who might want to attend should get their tickets while they’re still available. For complete details about the Nashville Mini Maker Faire, be sure to visit their website.

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