Behind The Scenes: The Making of a Maker Faire

I am the founder of an organization called Make:KC. Inspired by Make Magazine and the Maker Faire’s in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Detroit, and New York. We gained permission from Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Media to use the Make:KC name and held our first meeting in July of 2009. One of our goals was to bring a full Maker Faire headline event to Kansas City.

In August of 2010 we produced the first Kansas City Mini Maker Faire which was quite successful. We were invited to become part of the 43rd. annual Parkville Days Riverfest. Parkville, MO is a suburb of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. We managed to attract over 40 Maker exhibitors in addition to the more than 100 artists and craftsmen already part of Riverfest. We produced a one day mini faire on Sunday where the event saw over 10,000 visitors. This attraction encompassed the downtown area of Parkville, a city parking lot housing a full carnival, then around the driveway into a beautiful shaded park nestled between a railroad and the Missouri river. A walkway through the park was lined with vendors selling food and drink along with pony rides for the kids, a wild west show, musicians, and other live entertainment. We were able to reach many people that day who had never heard of Make Magazine or the maker movement.

We produced our second Mini Maker Faire in August of 2011 despite record flooding along the Missouri River putting the park underwater forcing the event to move to higher ground.

This coming August marks the fourth year I’ve worked to gain support for a Maker Faire. Kansas City has achieved the distinction of being one of the top four faires this year positioned as a mid level event alongside Detroit. This is my first post about the personal costs of achieving this goal.

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(c) 2012 Vince Thompson