Maker Faire 2009

There were stickers scattered randomly around this year’s Maker Faire: “Last year was better.” The weird thing was that whoever made them would had to have printed them up before the fair began. How could they know in advance? What would have happened if this year had been better than ever? Unfortunately, the stickers were right.

We’ve attended all four years of Maker Faire now, so Miles has been there at ages 3, 4, 5 and 6 (does that qualify as a tradition?) I still think it’s one of the Bay Area’s most amazing explosions of talent and creativity — there’s nothing else like it. But this year there were noticeably fewer amazing giant steel sculptures, a much smaller presence from the incredible Cyclecide, more guard rails and safety precautions, more people (again), and more attendance from professional organizations. Year by year, the fair is starting to feel a bit less like a family-friendly version of Burning Man, a bit more like an opportunity for professional Lego collectors to network.

I don’t want to make too much of that though – Maker Faire most definitely has NOT started to suck. It’s still dazzling, inspiring, amazing. Just that it’s started to feel a bit… safer than it once did.

That said, Miles and I had an amazing day watching the Giant Mouse Trap, building inventions with computer scrap parts, learning about the SCA, “driving” the amazing snail car, watching the human llama wobble around, riding the wooden bikes (my fave part of every MF), digging on a thousand kinds of robots, taking on challenges at the Instructables booth, spending way too much time at the various Legos exhibits, eating great good food on a perfect spring day. And the R2D2 Miles wanted so badly to see last year finally showed up – the little Padouin was beaming with happiness.

This year’s photo gallery (63 images and 10 videos):

Click icon at lower right after starting to view full-screen.
View the whole set at Flickr (includes captions you don’t get with the slideshow).

See also: my photos from Maker Faires 2008, 2007 and 2006.

4 Replies to “Maker Faire 2009”

  1. Pingback: Maker Faire WOW!
  2. I too was a little let down by this years Maker Faire. My problem is that its starting to feel repetative. The cupcake cars, the giant mouse trap, the mentos and diet coke guys, the robot giraffe, the Neverwas Hual, etc… These are all great to see but this year seemed to lack anything new. In fact, there seemed to be less stuff overall this year than years past. There didn’t seem to be as many individual inventors showing off their ideas like a remember a couple of years ago. I don’t know… maybe the bad economy has taken a toll on creativity as well. I’ll still return next year because I want this event to succeed.

  3. ….I have got to get my kids out there for MF 2010. Your pix and commentary always make it look like the place to be, and my kids will be 5 – old enough, I think. See you there!

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