There was something for everyone at the Martha’s Vineyard Mini Maker Faire, and, best of all, you could do some really cool stuff. You could build a catapult with tongue depressors and rubber bands to zing miniature marshmallows at your friends, assemble and paint your own phantasmagorical-creature board game piece, sip various mouthwatering homemade kombucha teas brewed with fascinating combinations of herbs, spices, and fruit.
Entering the Ag Hall out of the day’s rain, you immediately joined people of all ages strolling from station to fascinating station among the 27 that filled the cavernous space. The layout was strategically planned. To the right were the demonstrations and do-it-yourself activities. Nine-year-old Grady Stalgren explained while knapping away to refine his flint arrowhead, “I wanted to try this stuff. I like being out in nature.”
Next were the technology and media tables, including one where you used an iPad and little toy animals to create stop-action animation. At another, you could learn elementary coding by inserting particular color sequences into your black-line drawing on white paper that your little round Ozobot would detect, and then perform specific actions such as spin around, change speeds, or alternate directions.
In the Ag Hall’s left corner, you had robots and games ranging from simple to quite complex that kids grasped faster than adults. In Fire Tower, the aim was to protect your own fire tower by strategically placing pieces on the board that blocked the consuming fire.
Crafts and upcycling were to the left by the entrance. Here you could pick up an amazingly simple three-minute way to make your own “green” laundry detergent by mixing just 3 cups of washing soda, 2 cups of Borax, and two 5-ounce soap bars shaved into small pieces in a designated food processor. A single batch will run you just over $2, and lasts for months. Another upcycling station was the Island Grown Gleaning area, which had samples of different lettuce that you could take home to grow. Olivia Rabbitt and Nicola Blake explained how they and other volunteers recover leftovers from local farms that they then donate to the schools, senior centers, Community Services — anywhere that needs access to fresh produce. Next to them, youngsters printed with colorful paint stamps made from cut-and-carved potatoes that had gone bad.
People were lined up to get traditional henna designs painted on the back of their hands by Charlotte Rooney and Emma Van Lohuizen; it was just one station of several run by high school students. Further along, Anna Marie D’Addarie pointed out how a mother was quietly looking over her child’s shoulder as she made a small-hoop weaving using strips of donated T shirts. She shared, “I really like when I hear kids teaching their parents how to do the weaving, because then you know they really understand it. The kids are having a great time.”
The list goes on and on, for all there was to learn, make, and do. Jennifer Rapuano from the Vineyard Haven library was one of the lead producers who organized all this lively activity for the third year in a row. “What’s most important for readers to know,” she stressed, “is that everyone’s a maker! Anybody who makes anything can have a booth here next year.”
After the Faire, two friends summed up the day perfectly: “It was just awesome,” said Deb Mello Orzem. And Cici Drouin laughed, adding, “We stayed way longer than we planned to!”