The first thing you noticed, upon entering the , might have been the giant walking robot-giraffe. Or maybe it was the little wheeled cupcakes people were driving around, heads sticking out over the frosting.
Or maybe it was the guy in a bright-yellow homemade space suit. Or the old-timey steam-powered cars parked near the gate. Or the noisy busts of flame coming from somewhere off to the left.
Scratch all that: The first thing you probably noticed was the crowd. Now in its sixth year, Maker Faire has become insanely popular—and the 2011 edition, held last weekend at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo, was the biggest yet, with an expected crowd of about 100,000 over two days.
This meant getting in and out of the event wasn’t easy—unless, perhaps, you walked, biked or took public transit. And it meant that partaking in many of the amazing activities—such as the pedal-powered carnival ride—took some patience, as lines were long.
But other wonders came to you. The disconcerting “Swamp Kirin,” for example, which one Maker fan calls “horridorable,” wandered the grounds at random. (Yes, there’s a person in there.) The offered free music for the weary. And many of the booths, from Solar Stage to Expo Hall to Bazaar Bizarre, were set up either for information or highly unique shopping, or both.
And children had no problem enjoying themselves no matter what they were doing—there was just too much to see, hear, and in many cases touch.
Ultimately, Maker Faire is a mad scientists’ paradise. It is a celebration of creativity and ingenuity, and accessible to everyone. We plan to be back next year.
Click on the photos to see a full gallery from Patch editors Don Frances, Kristine Wong and Vanessa Castañeda.