We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Without the help of our volunteers, we would not be able to give you the best possible Maker Faire we can. So we’ve reached out to our volunteers and have asked them — Why?
Our first in this series is from one of our superstar volunteers, Todd. Read on to see what his experience was like during Maker Faire KC.
Wow did I have a great time at Maker Faire Kansas City! It was my first time attending so I decided to get involved and volunteer after seeing the Faire’s information at Kauffman’s 1M Cups. As a volunteer I worked the ticketing tables and was blown away by the crowd on Saturday. The level of interest in this event was amazing (and very hectic at times). The other surprise was the broad range of age groups and cultural disparity of the attendees. It wasn’t just a nerdy, tech fair that I (incorrectly) expected.
Throughout my 25 year career in the financial services industry I’ve been fascinated by innovation and somewhat disappointed by the lack of attention it gets at larger companies. So Maker Faire was a breath of fresh air to me in seeing the broad range of innovative ideas, concepts and implementations by the participants.
On Sunday I was able to enjoy the fair as an attendee and was immediately struck by the generational aspect of the exhibitors. You truly got to see “innovation through the years” and the history of Union Station provides the ideal venue. Ranging from the vintage Model T Ford’s to the additive manufacturing process (3d printing), the continuing cycles of innovation over the years was very evident. I remember wondering what Henry Ford could have created if he had a 3D Printer.
The other aspect that was apparent was the appreciation for innovation and pushing the limits regardless of function, value, purpose, etc. Many of the displays may not have provided practical usage but their value in demonstrating simple possibilities causes your mind to wander to other practical or commercial uses.
The robotics basketball demonstrations were great examples of building a device to do something simple and easy but also demonstrate the possibilities in practical applications.
Besides the many booths and exhibits was the entertainment value that innovation can provide. The racetrack and Mentos activities were very entertaining examples of how innovation can not only amaze but entertain as well.
I’ll definitely be volunteering again next year as the experience was very enjoyable. The Maker Faire team did a great job of preparing and taking care of the volunteers. I would encourage anyone who has interest in experimentation, creativity and innovation to get involved behind the scenes and volunteer in 2015.