More than 1,200 turn out for region's first Mini Maker Faire

The weather didn't quite cooperate, but that did not stop more than 1,200 people from turning out for Southwest Michigan's first Mini Maker Faire recently.

The May 30 event at Whirlpool Centennial Park had more than 30 interactive learning stations. A 3D printer, soldering, and a 30-foot-long 'Nerdy Derby' racetrack were all part of the fun and learning. There were 200 Nerdy Derby Cars built, 150 rockets launched, and more than 100 makers of all ages learned to solder, even though the day  brought foggy, cold and rainy weather.

The day allowed the area's "future workforce of entrepreneurs to have a truly interactive and first-hand experience of what is involved in making things," says Greg Vaughn, Chief Operating Officer. "We want the next generation to realize how important manufacturing is to our economy, while encouraging their creativity and innovation."

Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) was the the lead agency in putting on the day's events. Cornerstone Alliance, Kinexus, St. Joseph Today, SeeMeCNC also were partners. The group licensed the event through Make: Magazine.com.

Kalamazoo was represented at the event by Hacker Gals’ founder Stacy Burdettte and by representatives of The Kalamazoo Makers Guild. Burdette reports that organizers took care of the Makers at the faire very well, offering assistance in unloading and feeding them pizza at lunch time. 

“Less than one year ago, this faire was a merely a concept,” says  Joe Rommel, RESA  Educational Technology Consultant. “Makers faires have been wildly popular throughout the world, and we wanted to create an event that promoted innovation, creativity and learning in our community.  Despite the weather, we were delighted with the attendance. The months of planning and hard work were rewarded with the countless smiles and teachable moments we saw from makers of all ages.”

Sponsors included Lake Michigan College, Purple Mash, Chemical Bank, Dane Systems, LLC, Hanson Mold, Revision/Legal and United Federal Credit Union.

Source: Cornerstone Alliance
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