Calling all makers

This year’s Mini Maker Faire is still open to makers.

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It’s time for the Mini Maker Faire again, and Jennifer Rapuano, young adult librarian at the Vineyard Haven library, is ready to introduce you to what she thinks is an awesome good time.

This year marks the fourth fair for Martha’s Vineyard, and Rapuano explained more about the event, scheduled for Saturday, May 11, at the Agricultural Hall.

“The Maker Faire is an international movement that goes on in many different countries all over the world, and they’re different sizes,” Rapuano said. “The Martha’s Vineyard fair is a Mini Maker Faire, so we have less than 50 presenters, people who have cool projects that they want to share with the public.” And, unlike other Maker Faires, this one is free thanks to a grant from the M.V. Cultural Council and other sponsors in the community. The M.V. Library Association is the main sponsor, and thanks to Rapuano, along with Oak Bluffs library director Allyson Malick, the event made it to the Island. Rapuano visited Maker Faires on Cape Cod and the one in New York City to check it out, she said.

“It has a tech focus, which we felt like was something that was sometimes missing on the Island,” Rapuano explained, “And we thought it was a unique format for adults, to be able to allow people to have hands-on activities or to show what they do at the fair. It’s an opportunity for Islanders to learn about new hobbies or things to do.”

The annual fair has attracted makers who create everything from home-brewed beer to upcycled old clothing to something new this year, rust dyeing — using rust to dye various items. This year Salt, an inflatable life-size whale, will visit from off-Island. People can walk through the whale and see what’s inside. An Island Girl Scout Junior troop will exhibit their projects from earning their robotics badges, and the high school engineering department will be there, as well as the Oak Bluffs School’s Maker Space program. “Every year we have about 25 to 35 different people come to show their projects,” Rapuano said.

She said there’s usually a do-it-yourself area, a section for young makers, a craft component, and a tech component. They’ll bring tech equipment from the libraries to try, including some virtual reality headsets.

Because it’s a nonprofit event, the Mini Maker Faire has one limitation: You can’t sell your “stuff” at the fair. There will be food for purchase, though, and you can bring all the business cards you’d like — and you can tell folks about your passion project and let them know where they can find it.

“It is a super-fun experience, you get to hang out with all the other makers,” Rapuano said. “It’s a great opportunity to talk about what you love with other people, and share what you do.”

To find out more and to learn how you can be a maker this year, visit marthasvineyard.makerfaire.com.