This Good Idea come with a personal stamp of approval. Mini Maker Faires have been popping up all over the country, and, well, they’re awesome. Initially developed by Make Magazine, Mini Maker Faires are typically locally-orgainzed events that allow anyone who, well, makes stuff, to show off what they can do.
What does that have to do with economic development? A lot:
- A Maker Faire gives people who have been playing around with an idea for a thing a chance to get some real-world feedback. Call it uber-cheap preliminary market research.
- It’s a fabulous way to introduce residents to the potential of technologies like 3-D printing — and the idea that they themselves can make something of economic value as well. Especially with the new generation of portable 3-D printers, the potential to show people that it’s actually pretty easy to be a “maker” has to have all sorts of good benefits.
- It helps change the image of a place from old, boring, or stuck-in-the-mud to something more awesome (sometimes to “I don’t know what that is, but it’s awesome.” That works too.)
- It can include artists and artisans, but it can also include people who do things that you’d never classify as art — which also means that people who wouldn’t come out for an “art” show will find a reason to come as well).
Plus, they’re hella fun. For everyone.
Here’s some photos and videos from a Maker Faire in Cincinnati that I took my kids to last fall (warning: they have been asking for a 3-D printer ever since. But at least it’s not the drum/blow torch thing.).