In 2013, Maker Faire KC was ranked by MAKE Magainze as the fourth largest of the world’s 100 maker faires. With the Kansas City event now in its fourth year, organizers hope to further engage the public with technology when Maker Faire KC returns to Union Station June 28 and 29.
“The main takeaway is giving the public access to technology they otherwise wouldn’t have known existed,” said Luis Rodriguez, faire organizer and Union Station process and programing specialist.
Maker Faire KC stemmed from the larger maker movement, which grew with the founding of MAKE Magazine in 2005. The magazine held the world’s first maker faire in the Bay Area in 2006. The faires have now expanded to a global scale and feature tech enthusiasts, artists, crafters and other types of “makers.”
Kansas City’s faire is one of only a handful of featured faires that hosts more than 200 makers each year. The faire was founded with sponsorship from the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Last year, the event featured 350 booths and had 12,000 attendees. This year, the faire will have more makers with projects that exemplify new technology, Rodriguez said. For example, as opposed to just having 3-D printers on display, a booth may show how a 3-D printer can be used to make prosthetics.
“We have a strong base of projects,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not just the tool, but what you do with it.”
Highlights for the event include two speaker stages featuring people like Maker Media president and CEO Dale Dougherty, and panels about maker education and maker businesses. The festival will also host a number of events like Coke and Mentos experiments by EepyBird, FIRST Robotics competitions and lowrider car displays.
Union Station opened its own makerspace in January, giving the public access to 3-D printers and other crafting tools. Rodriguez said he hopes the faire will inspire innovation, entrepreneurship and education at the event and also year round.
“It’s just a fun way to learn,” he said. “Everybody here shares how they make something.”
More information on the event is available at MakerFaireKC.com. Tickets can be purchased on pre-sale or purchased at the event and are $12 a day and $19.50 for the weekend for adults and $9 a day and $14.50 for the weekend for children. Family passes and Union Station membership discounts are also available.