Make Your Own Festival
Jenna Schnuer reports from this past weekend’s Maker Faire in Queens, New York.
I couldn’t tell exactly what the noise was or where it was coming from: There was the ping ping ping of xylophones, a beating drum, and the shaking rattling noises of…something. Pursing the sounds across the grounds of the New York Hall of Science, I expected to find a small band of people using a clearing as a practice space. Instead I found a guy in a plaid shirt standing behind a folding table loaded with small player-pianoesque musical instruments (aka, Nick Yulman and his Bone Conductor Mechanical Orchestra, pictured, above).
My brain-swirling day at World Maker Faire NY was officially underway.
Equal parts science fair, craft fair, carnival, and island of misfit human toys (with a whole lot of knitting, seminars, computer chips, sassy handmade greeting cards, the Lifesize Mousetrap game, tasty paella, and, yes, mass market brands like Martha Stewart Living and Lion Brand Yarn mixed in), Maker Faire plays temporary roving home to anybody who creates or, as the Faire lingo has it “makes,” pretty much, anything. It is the Holy Land of DIY. And, odd but true, it is as family friendly as it is sexy.
Maker Faire is also a good place to spot Utilikilts in the wild.
Started in 2006 by the folks behind Make: magazine, Maker Faires have
entertained the DIY masses in five states and two countries. Its NYC
home at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a perfect fit: the park hosted
two World’s Fairs. The 1939 fair promised visitors the “World of
Tomorrow,” and the building that now houses the Hall of Science started
out as a pavilion at the 1964 event.