Mini Maker Faire celebrates making stuff -- and the people who do it
Updated 3:36 pm, Friday, April 24, 2015
As much as the Westport Mini Maker Faire is a showcase for innovation, creativity and technology, the fourth annual event Saturday promises to be a wide-ranging expo that embraces making stuff -- all kinds of stuff.
Thousands are expected to turn out for the fair at the Westport Library and Jesup Green, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where a diverse range of creations will be on display, as will be the can-do spirit of the people who make those things happen.
"For me, the value of participating in the fair is it affirms our American ingenuity at a small-town level," said Kerstin Rao, of Westport, a teacher and artist who became somewhat famous for her "Princess Bride"-themed performance art marriage ceremony several years ago, a film which she and her husband shared at the fair.
"I also love that the Maker Faire is accessible to all, whether they're visiting or presenting their work. I like that it's truly democratic," said Rao, who first attended a Maker Faire in New York in 2011 and has enjoyed the local event since it started in 2012.
"The Mini Maker Faire to me is about celebration," said Dan Cortright, a science teacher in Westport. "It's a chance for the community to celebrate the talent and creativity of people in our midst."
Cortright has helped encourage many of his students to participate, doing everything from cooking projects to robotics demonstrations.
"This year we expect to see prosthetic devices, new robotics creations and presentations from the award-winning Science Olympiad team from Bedford Middle School," he said.
"It's really going to be fun," said Mark Mathias, who co-chairs the event and helped initiate this local offshoot of the Maker Movement. "The beauty is these are local people, people who are just trying fun stuff. For me, the real value of this is it really encourages people to say, `I can do that.' They meet the people who did these things, so this becomes real for them."
"I really like the Maker Faire because I can show people what I've been working on and talk to other makers," said Blythe Serrano, a Westport resident who participated in the three previous fairs, even though she's only 12.
"I am involved in three projects," she said, including a giant puppet parade staged in tandem with the Imagination Foundation. Blythe is also making a giant bird costume with feathers "plucked" from soda cans, and a giant book that will feature moving pictures.
"I like pretty much everything about creating stuff," she said. "It's really satisfying seeing my projects go from an idea to a finished product."
"For Blythe it's very important to share her work with other people because she's very creative and likes to work on stuff, but it's also the process of showing stuff, having people come by and ask her questions about projects," said her mother, Nicola Serrano. "The whole creative process is amazing."
There will be a wide range of other projects for people to see and try out, including a monkey bridge being created by a Boy Scout troop that will camp on Jesup Green the night before the fair.
There will also be a human foosball table, a violin maker, electric cars, light writing, glass craft, homemade jet engines, robotic egg handlers, 3-D printing and much more among the 100 exhibitors.
An opening ceremony is planned at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
For more details about the Westport Mini Maker Faire, visit http://bit.ly/1H7xwtS.