From the Good Ideas File: Mini Maker Faire!

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.

A belt sander race, of course.  See more, including the 3-D printers and the blowtorch thing, at
A belt sander race, of course. See more, including the 3-D printers and the blowtorch thing, at

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.).

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