It was a good time to be a kid — or at least a kid at heart — at the Agricultural Hall on Saturday, as makers, crafters, and techies of all ages gathered to display their gadgets, games, and goods at the second annual Mini Maker Faire.
Librarians Jennifer Rapuano, Allyson Malik, Laura Hearn, Rizwan Malik, and Jennifer Burkin organized the day’s free events, which included a multitude of hands-on activities, from crafts to coding. More than 900 people filtered into the hall, which had 30 stations featuring virtual reality gaming headsets, a 3D printer, a driving simulation, harmonographs, model planes, big swords, handmade guitars, crocheting instruction, origami lessons, a homemade toaster, Lego car racing, and home-brewed beer, to name a few.
Lead producer and Vineyard Haven young adult librarian Jennifer Rapuano said this year went well. “Being the second year, it ran a lot smoother,” she said. “We knew what we were doing, and we’re very grateful for everybody who presented, attended, and volunteered. We’re grateful for the Friends of the Library associations, the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, and MV Center for the Arts for supporting us.”
The Mini Maker Faire is an initiative that launched from MAKE Magazine as a way to bring together DIY-ers and makers of all varieties. Fairs have popped up in cities all over the country. Ms. Rapuano said the idea to host one on Martha’s Vineyard came after she went to a Mini Maker Faire on Cape Cod. “We thought, there are so many people on Martha’s Vineyard who do so many cool things, so we wanted to have our own,” she said.
Laura Hearn, youth services/young adult librarian at the West Tisbury library, reported over 250 people came to check out the library’s harmonograph, which is usually on display in the library’s lower level. Built by Myles Thurlow and Max Decker, the harmonograph is a machine that uses swinging arms attached to weighted pendulums to sketch spiralled ellipses on a piece of paper. The sizes and shapes of the drawings made depend on the arc of the swing, the weight, and the angle of the piece of paper.
A group of Oak Bluffs students also displayed a harmonograph they built, and were excited to see the West Tisbury library’s model so they could learn how to improve their own. Other students made a toaster out of a reflective metal box and a desk lamp. Over the course of a day they melted a chocolate bar, charred an Altoids box, and disfigured a piece of plastic.
Another popular stop was David Myrna’s virtual reality game. Kids strapped on goggles that simulated a video game world where they could walk around and complete tasks with handheld remote controls. One gamer, so mesmerized by their virtual world, bumped into the surrounding exhibits and had to be guided back into the play space.
“Lots of times when people ask us about the maker faire, I tell them, it’s amorphous on purpose, because we want to be inclusive,” Ms. Rapuano said. “Anyone who makes something is a maker.”