CLC to host county's first Maker Faire virtually this spring
Last year, the College of Lake County was set to host the county's first Maker Faire -- an all-ages gathering that is part science fair and part county fair -- before the global pandemic made that impossible.
Because it is still unwise to have a big gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, robotics clubs, engineers and more at CLC, organizers will put on the event virtually April 17.
At a traditional Maker Faire, created by the people behind Make Magazine in 2006, exhibitors set up booths to show off items they've created in their shop, garage or kitchen.
For the virtual version, the makers will record themselves showing off their creations that fairgoers can view at lakecounty.makerfaire.com.
"One of the benefits of it being virtual is people who can't bring heat-treating equipment or glass-blowing setups to a school can just do it where they always do," said Jan Edwards, an engineering instructor at CLC and event organizer. "But it does mean they will have to speak on camera, which some people might not be up for."
In an attempt to re-create the hands-on nature of a traditional Makers Faire, Edwards said she hopes to mail out project kits so attendees can work along with makers. CLC will pay the cost of creating those kits, she said.
"Some of the presenters will make videos that are tutorial in nature so you can try your hand at it as well," Edwards said.
Several area makers who had signed up for last year's event before it was canceled will participate in this year's virtual event, Edward said. She said she's reaching out to area middle and high schools to encourage engineering and entrepreneurship students to show off what they've made for school.
Organizers said the event is prime time for everyone to show off what they masterminded at home during the last 10 or so months, and makers of all levels and abilities are encouraged to submit projects for presentation.
"There are certainly people at home right now who've had more time next to their tools," Edwards said.
Those interested in presenting or attending can register for free at lakecounty.makerfaire.com. Those who register will have access to all of the presentations and demonstrations.
Edwards said CLC will host some Maker Faire kickoff events the week of Feb. 22 and details will be on the event website next week.