Bay Area Maker Faire: A Recap

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What do singing lobsters, cupcakes on wheels and giant electric giraffes have in common?

They—along with eHow’s Editor-in-Chief Jerri Farris and me—could all be found at the Bay Area Maker Faire on May 18 and 19.

From the moment we stepped foot inside the gates of the San Mateo Event Center, I was overcome by an eclectic mix of sights and sounds. Little kids squealed with excitement over the chance to pose with giant cardboard robots, while proud car enthusiasts showed off their latest reimagined toys.

Whatever you create, there is a place for it at Maker Faire. The Textile Talk Lounge played host to 100 Acts of Sewing founder Sonya Philip as she discussed the motivation behind her project. The Hands-on Homegrown tent housed exhibits about making your own honey and goat cheese. The Bazaar Bizarre was full of crafters showcasing their unique creations, from handmade stamps to light-up costumes. Maker Faire is truly a community that celebrates invention, no matter the material, size or purpose.

Below are a few of my favorite Maker Faire attractions:

The Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, an art car adorned in over 250 singing lobsters and fish, greeted visitors at the entrance to Maker Faire with renditions of tunes like “Age of Aquarius.” Led by their conductor, The Lobster Formerly Known as Larry, the plastic sea creatures performed synchronized routines.

From Acme Muffineering, there were the cupcake cars. These little vehicles sped around the event center, invoking jealousy and a bit of hunger in Maker Faire attendees.

Then there was the Electric Giraffe, a 17-foot tall walking robotic giraffe. He meandered around Maker Faire, delighting kids and adults alike. I loved his lava lamp ears, which were lit up fully in the Dark Room.

And of course, I have to mention the Coke and Mentos fountain from EepyBird. Presented under the mantra of “try this at home,” the show employed more than 100 bottles of Coke Zero and 500 Mentos candies, set off in sync to music. The soda exploded all over the stage and beyond; luckily, we did NOT stand in the splash zone.

Even I got to do a little making at Maker Faire, thanks to Sonya Philip and the ladies at the Swap-O-Rama-Rama. From piles of donated fabric, I picked an adorable cowboy paisley print. Using a pattern from Sonya, I cut the fabric into the two sides of a smock shirt. Then a very patient volunteer helped me use a sewing machine to stitch it all together. In less than an hour, I had an adorable handmade shirt and a huge smile on my face!

If you ever get the opportunity to attend a Maker Faire, I highly encourage it. There are events all over the world, so check out the Maker Faire official map to find one near you.

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