Make San Antonio's 3D Printer for Floresville's Wilson County Maker Faire. Image courtesy of Jennifer Herrera and Wilson County Maker Faire.
Make San Antonio's 3D Printer for Floresville's Wilson County Maker Faire. Image courtesy of Jennifer Herrera and Wilson County Maker Faire.

On October 17 the San Antonio Central Library will host the first Mini Maker Faire in San Antonio. The Faire is a chance for makers across the city to show their unique creations; the event is family friendly and a celebration of the Maker Movement.

So what is a Maker? A maker could be an innovative teenager interested in science, a tech enthusiast, or Ron Swanson-esque craftsman that walks through our halls, offices or city streets. Your next door neighbor tinkering in the garage loud enough for all to hear is a maker. Your best friend who makes the most amazing pies ever is a maker.

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Makers and DIYers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to apply before the Aug. 24. deadline. The main goal of the event is to entertain, inform connect and grow the maker community in San Antonio. A few other qualifying skills include: student projects, rocketry and RC toys, fixing things or taking things apart, textile arts and crafts, robotics, new or traditional handicrafts, 3D printing, interactive art projects, food makers, electronics and more.

Expect maker booths featuring projects, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. There will also be some smaller-scale hands-on workshops, as well as performances and talks on the Plaza stage.

The original Maker Faire premiered in San Mateo, CA; nine years later the show has 1100 makers and 130,000 attendees in its 2014 show. Cities across the globe host their own events including Paris, Rome, Oslo, Trondheim, Tokyo and Newcastle.

The local event is sponsored by Make Magazine, San Antonio Public Library Foundation and NowCastSA. The Maker Faire was created by Maker Media, the publisher of Make Magazine. All but the flagship Faires are independently produced – Maker Media licenses these Faires and provides resources for their organizers a network of organizers to connect with throughout the process.

San Antonio’s first annual Faire will be completely local save for a few things.

“We’re licensed by Maker Media to produce a Mini Maker Faire, and they provided logos, publicity, other resources (like sample forms and example promotional materials), and website design help. The organization of the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire is all happening locally,” said San Antonio Mini Maker Faire Organizer Caroline Mossing.

The organization of the Faire has taken over a year to come to fruition. Mossing, a librarian at the Teen Library at SAPL Central location, has been working diligently with Jennifer Velasquez, coordinator of Teen Services for the Public Library, towards to make the event a success.

“We were talking about the library (especially Teen programming at the library) and the maker community in San Antonio and one of us mentioned how awesome it would be to put on a Mini Maker Faire – for the educational aspect, as a way to strengthen the ties in San Antonio’s creative community, and especially to showcase what young makers are doing and give young not-yet-makers a chance to see and try new things,” Mossing said.

Applicant Jennifer Herrera is awaiting to hear if her group, Make San Antonio has been selected to participate. This past May, her group participated in Floresville’s Wilson County Mini Maker Faire.

“The application process is super simple,” Herrera said. “We had to provide a summary of who we are, links for social media and our website, and an idea of what we would want to feature if selected. The most difficult part is deciding what to do for the Faire.”

Make San Antonio was founded a year ago by Herrera and her husband Greg Reyes. The group has two other members: Mark Barnett and Dale Bracey. The group hosts small events in San Antonio and can be seen at various farmers markets around the city.

“We went to Maker Faire in Austin two years ago. It’s geared towards children, but there is plenty for adults to see and learn about too.”

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember, and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work and their involvement in the maker movement. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.
Make San Antonio hosted Makevember, and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work and their involvement in the maker movement. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

At the Wilson County Mini Maker Faire, Make San Antonio had a 3D printer and activities for the kids (see top photo).

“Many people hadn’t seen a 3D printer before and when they saw it you could tell their creativity started churning with what they could make. There are a tons of makers in SA and I think there’s a desire to have a stronger community of makers here,” Herrera said.

She is optimistic for the future of San Antonio’s makers and what the Faire will bring.

“The whole focus of Mini Maker Faire is to create community of making things. Whether it’s arts and crafts for kids, DIY items from vendors, science or technology, there’s a lot to learn and see. I’m surprised San Antonio didn’t jump on it sooner, but I expect it to be an annual event, and the maker community will probably grow as a result. The library does a great job with the STEM center, and with their help I definitely see this as something that will take off.”

*Featured/top image:Make San Antonio’s 3D Printer for Floresville’s Wilson County Maker Faire. Image courtesy of Jennifer Herrera and Wilson County Maker Faire. 

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Jackie Calvert

Jackie Calvert is a freelance writer living in San Antonio. When she’s not writing, she’s tweeting or exploring the many facets of her city.