Maker Faire to showcase innovation via Fluxmonkey, pumpkin toss and more

Northeast Ohio's rich maker culture stretches back to a strong manufacturing and engineering foundation, one bolstered in recent years by innovative efforts in the biomedical, design and even the food space.

All are invited to celebrate the region's maker culture on November 5 when Cleveland Public Library (CPL) hosts its fourth annual Cleveland Mini Maker Faire (CMMF). Supported by Ingenuity Cleveland, the day-long event is designed as a family-friendly showcase of imagination celebrating the maker movement.

"It encourages people to be creative, to understand that making can be a hobby, not just a job," says Aaron Mason, head of programming at CPL.

Highlighted by 70 free workshops and tech-based exhibitions, this year's program includes glitch art sessions where participants create media around defects in digital technology. Electro-acoustic musician Fluxmonkey will teach attendees how to make their own electronic audio devices, while CPL's on-site TechCentral MakerSpace leads classes on 3D papercraft, paracord crafts and robotics. Meanwhile, Rockwell Avenue will be closed for a trebuchet pumpkin toss.

CPL is ready to welcome 3,500 guests for additional activities like Drone Zone, where amateur techies control library-supplied flying vehicles in a netted off indoor space. NASA Glenn Research Center and the The Children's Museum of Cleveland will also present various installations and demonstrations.

CPL officials expect Clevelanders of all ages to come out and support their hometown's most exciting innovators.

"We get city residents and people from the suburbs, as well as all races and cultures," says Mason. "This is the most diverse event we have."

Maker Faire has an opportunity to reignite a spirit of innovation that harkens to Cleveland's long manufacturing history, Mason adds. Children can be an especially active baton-carrier leading Northeast Ohio into the next generation of design.

"Technology is a closed system and can be a mystery for kids," says Mason. "Our exhibitors are sharing what they've learned and showing the secrets behind their creations."

Ultimately, Maker Faire is a collaborative effort using the CPL's glittering main downtown branch as a natural convening space for makers, companies and people who are simply interested in new and interesting knowledge.

"People are getting to view technology and art while also being a part of it," says Mason. "They're learning about new technologies that could be applicable later in life."

Douglas J. Guth
Douglas J. Guth

About the Author: Douglas J. Guth

DDouglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to being senior contributing editor at FreshWater, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine, and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture. At FreshWater, he contributes regularly to the news and features departments, as well as works on regular sponsored series features.