Santa Cruz Tech Beat

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Third Time’s The Charm: the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire returns yet again

By Zaq Roberts
Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat

March 21, 2018 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo above: Scene from last year’s event at Gateway School. This year the event will be held at Cabrillo College. Source: Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire)

If you haven’t yet heard, the Third Annual Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire is now accepting applications for exhibitors, presenters and performers! Whether a garage-level hobbyist, small business owner, or major corporate player, there’s room for you to get involved.

At the Mini Maker Faire, you can program a robot, or design a compressed-air rocket. You might learn to weave on a loom, or upcycle fabrics into bags. You may attend workshops on how to install pickups into guitars, shape a surfboard, or use an arc welder. And you will almost certainly partake of the amazing food and beverages provided by a selection of local food trucks and other vendors.

Metal sculpture displayed at last year’s event. (Source: Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire)

In our first two years we’ve had electric race cars from UCSC, interactive kinetic sculptures, and laser pianos. We’ve had boat- and bridge-building engineering challenges, aerial arts demonstrations, and First Robotics teams. Every year we’ve also featured an incredible assortment of hands-on projects, from giant puff-ball making to 3D printing and laser cutting your own designs.

One part Burning Man (think, fire!), one part CES trade show, and one part county fair, the Maker Faire is an opportunity for inventors, programmers, engineers, tinkerers, crafters, hobbyists, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors to come together in celebration of innovation and DIY inventiveness.

New Location

This year’s event will be held May 5, 2018, from 10am-5pm, and the big news is that we’ve got a new location! Cabrillo College has joined Make: Magazine, Gateway School, and Plantronics as a lead sponsor, and will host the Faire in the Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts (VAPA) Complex. Cabrillo recently used a $750,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to build a Maker Space. From demonstration pours in the foundry to the intricacies of drone racing, the Cabrillo faculty will bring their expertise and insights to share with attendees.

John Graulty, Dean of the VAPA Division, had this to say about the Mini Maker Faire: “Cabrillo College and its Visual, Applied, & Performing Arts (VAPA) Division, where the Mini Maker Faire will be hosted this year, have always been about teaching design thinking and making — from works of art, aesthetic objects and design products of all sorts from our STEAM collaborations, culinary delights, and exhibitions and performances, to digitally constructed objects in our brand new makerspace, and so much more. We are therefore THRILLED to be the celebratory hub for making in Santa Cruz County this year when we host the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire for the first time in our VAPA quad on May 5.”

One thing that we love about the Maker Faire is that the installations are 100% accessible. Participants have made their project themselves, so there is also the element of being able to speak directly to the maker. You might see something and think, I want to do that at home, and the person showing you can explain right then and there how to do it.

Maker Faires are hyperlocal events that focus on the local community. Santa Cruz is a community of creative, free thinkers who enjoy the natural beauty of the local environment, and support local business. We offer an opportunity to bring the vibrant technology and innovation ecosystem of the Santa Cruz and Monterey counties into conversation with the incredible makers working in arts, crafts, performance and other fields.

Chances are, you’re already a Maker

If you’ve ever melted crayons in the toaster oven to form new shapes and colors, or built a fairy house out of leaves and twigs while walking in the park, you’re a maker. If you’re reading this on the Santa Cruz Tech Beat, more likely you’re an entrepreneur or innovator designing a product to disrupt an industry status quo!

The point is, anyone can be a maker. And there are all sorts of them — makers are creators of art, technology and culture: gardeners, cooks, engineers, musicians, performers, artists. You can make hot pepper sauce, tie dye corduroy, a fire shooting glove, a remote control giraffe, or a TV that only plays forest fires. Projects can be light hearted and whimsical, or they can be life-changing.

Want to exhibit or volunteer?

Selection for exhibiting at the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire is a curated process. We’ve had over 2700 people attend this event in the last two years, which means exhibitors will have a great audience for their work. Submit your Proposal to Exhibit, or register to volunteer at the event, at the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire website.

See you on May 5th!

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