I was born in Fresno and grew up here, as did my husband and my parents. I'm thrilled to be raising my young son here too! I've gone away for school and spent brief periods in other parts of California, but have always ended up homesick for my hometown.
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Are you a multi-tasker? Are you a fan of ingenuity, baseball, or both? If so, look no further. I’ve found the perfect event for you.
Fresno’s 5th annual Mini Maker Faire, hosted by Fresno Ideaworks, is coming up on Sunday, April 9. Ideaworks puts together this event every year, and it’s an amazing chance to get inspired and check out tinkerers and experts in everything from robotics, to woodworking, to glass blowing, to fiber arts… and everything in between. Basically, if it’s creative and hands-on in Fresno, you’ll see it exhibited at the Mini Maker Faire.
The fair takes place at Chukchansi Park during a Fresno Grizzlies baseball game, which is like getting two events for the price of one! Admission is the price of a baseball ticket (for the record, the least expensive Grizzlies tickets are seven bucks each).
However, in the spirit of Makers everywhere, if you bring your own DIY cardboard creation (check out ideas here), admission is free.
Fresno Ideaworks is Growing its Reach
Fresno Ideaworks is going full steam ahead right now. The Mini Maker Faire is the culmination of tons of planning and hours of elbow grease by makers all over Fresno. In addition to this event, the Ideaworks crew is planning two concurrent moves; they just announced plans for a second location in Clovis, and due to planned renovations at their downtown Fresno shop, they’re moving into temporary digs right across the way.
In spite of all this, I managed to track down Scott Kramer, president at Fresno Ideaworks, to ask him to answer a few questions (some serious, some… not) for me.
Considering that he’d spent much of the day helping to power wash the floor in the new Fresno shop, he was surprisingly chipper.
Me: I know you were inspired to begin what turned into Ideaworks by attending a Maker Faire in the Bay Area. I’ve been to it myself, and the event is enormous. What do you consider to be the main advantage of the “Mini” version?
Scott Kramer: Mini Maker Faires provide two things that I think are important to a community that big flagship events like San Mateo can’t. First, accessibility to those who, for one reason or another, can’t make the trip to San Mateo. But, more importantly, Minis provide an opportunity for people to see the astonishing and amazing things that are being made right in their own community.
The Maker Movement isn’t something that’s happening in the Bay Area or New York… it’s right next door and each and every person that comes to the Fresno Mini Maker Faire gets to see what can be done here.
How many years has the Mini Maker Faire event been going on in Fresno?
This will be the fifth Mini Maker Faire. It also marks our seventh large-scale Maker Event, including two years of “Ideaworks Day” at Chukchansi Park.
I’m not asking you to play favorites, but what are some of the Faire aspects, activities, and exhibits you enjoy the most?
Anything built by a kid blows my doors off! This year, we’ve got a young inventor who made a solar panel cleaning robot. I’ve had the privilege to see his project evolve over the past couple of years and it’s inspirational to see the way he has continued to push past snags and to grow his vision.
Another highlight for me is to see people leverage technology or even refine old-school tech and to leverage it against social needs we face as a society. Things from greener vehicles and more efficient living to reuse and re-purposing materials rather than sending them off to a landfill. The abundance of opportunities to live cleaner lives and do more for ourselves gives me hope.
As the event takes place at Chukchansi Stadium, have you decided what to nab from the snack bar? Rumor has it they’re now serving something called the “Oink, Cluck, Moo,” which I’m guessing isn’t a vegetarian option. Or you could go with the “Taco Tots.” What sounds good?
There’s no way I can eat five over-stuffed hot dogs in one day. But a deep and powerful part of me needs to eat these things! All’s I know is that before the season is out, I will have eaten each of these a minimum of once and, likely, a couple of them more than I dare admit!
Come on out, stroll through the exhibits, check out the new culinary creations at Chukchansi Park, and watch the Grizzlies (hopefully) knock the stuffing out of the Reno Aces! Sounds like a great Sunday, right? Hopefully I’ll see you out there.
All photos provided courtesy of Fresno Ideaworks. Used with permission.