by Megan James
You never know what you might find at the Champlain Mini Maker Faire — the second one takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms. Last year's drew more than 1300 people who bought tickets to see a pumpkin-chuckin’ trebuchet, a remote-controlled quad-copter and a pumpkin-headed robot monster.
“Makers” are essentially enthusiasts — people who create something for the joy of creating rather than for profit. Maker faires are opportunities for them to get together, share ideas and noodle around with technology.
The events have been cropping up all over the world since 2006, when MAKE magazine publisher Dale Dougherty held the first gathering in San Mateo, Calif.
The line-up for this year's Champlain Mini Maker Faire — it's a little smaller than some of the others, hence the "mini" moniker — includes Bina48, one of the world's most social and sentient robots, as well as the team behind the Generator, a new 6000-square-foot "maker space" slated to open later this fall in Burlington.
There are also plenty of opportunities to make stuff at the faire. Don't know how to write code? You don't need to when you build a virtual robot with an app called Ludobots Interactive. Play with and make your own gooey polymers with the folks from ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. Or stop by Nightmare Vermont's zombie booth, where make-up artists promise to "rip open your skin, make you bleed and give you raging necrosis. It'll be fun. Really!"
Outside on the lawn, Peter Krusch will show off his eight-foot-tall roaring and smoking dragon, and folks can cook "smokeless s'mores" in a pizza-box solar oven. Yum.
Want to throw down in a rocket-launching challenge? Bring your own rocket — it must fit inside a three-inch PVC pipe — and rocket experts will launch it for you. Awards will be given for "stability in flight, time aloft and catastrophic failure during flight."
Find more information or buy tickets at champlainmakerfaire.com. Kids 10 and under get in free!