Eighth annual Maker Faire brings community together
WESTPORT — For eight years now the Maker Faire Westport has mesmerized, mystified, inspired and amazed thousands of visitors, and Saturday’s sprawling event — centered at Veterans’ Green and the Baldwin Parking Lot — was no exception.
With around 100 distinctly different exhibitors to choose from, visitors got see the spectrum in terms of people who make things — artists, bakers and jewelry makers, computer programmers, net-zero advocates, hydroponic gardeners and pickleball players.
The event featured not only professionals selling their wares, but a wide variety of amateurs looking to share their passions and demo their particular projects.
“This is why we founded our space,” said Vladimir Mariano, of Norwalk, who helped start the Fairfield County Makers’ Guild in 2014, following the thrill of taking part in this event. “It was just the love of this stuff, the DIY (do-it-yourself) technology.”
Wearing a shirt that said “I’d rather be 3D printing,” Mariano, who is also the maker space supervisor at Norwalk Community College, shared some of his creations, including a blue vase-like sculpture that floats in the air.
“This space celebrates and inspires people to come out and share their work, and it allows you to just be inspired by what you see,” he said.
“My son’s in heaven,” said Andrea Davis, of Weston, who was visiting for the first time and taken aback at the selection of activities and exhibits. “There are just a lot of creative things to get their wheels turning.”
“I think the exhibitors are also really engaged and really good at teaching the kids,” she said, noting her son Ryan, 6, “is having a blast.”
Thousands of people found their way to the main tent erected across from Town Hall, the main event having formerly taken place on Jesup Green.
Several local businesses and nonprofits were represented, a number of which helped sponsor the event, which also included more than 200 volunteers.
Whichever way one turned, there was another angle on creation and creativity.
There were lessons on how to solder, an old-fashioned hammer and nail creation table, electronic learning demonstrations, jewelry made from circuitry parts, orgami that assembled like Lego, and a range of drone-related activities.
“I love how everyone comes together,” said Sacred Heart University engineering student Stephen Bader, who helped run a hovercraft racing activity. “This is really cool.”
“It’s all about being creative and enjoying what you’re doing and making the world more beautiful with art,” said Monroe artist Rebecca Ochsendorf, who had an activity table for people to create mini works of art in one of the painting methods she utilizes.
“Part of living a life of purpose is trying to make the world a more beautiful place,” she said.
“It’s all for the greater good,” said Wendy Fellows, of Wilton, owner of an electricity powered coffee café on wheels called Bubble & Brew, which only uses biodegradable faux plastic cups.
“We’re very energy conscious and eco-friendly,” she said, applauding the Maker Faire for trying to promote net zero waste.
“I think it’s fabulous for a number of reasons,” said Kevin Carroll of Westport, who made a connection with one vendor for a possible business endeavor.
“It gives a chance to a lot of wonderful entrepreneurs to get their ideas out and to get some input from people,” he said.
“I think it’s really fun because (it) promotes creativity throughout Westport,” said Samantha Taylor, 16, of Westport, who was one of several Staples High School students who helped assemble an enormous duck made of more than 100 pieces printed on 3D printers from locations throughout the world.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “And I think it’s a way to bring the community together.”