Fostering local fairs for the Make and Craft magazine communities.
Makerfaire is a huge success, getting bigger every year.
What makes it so successful?
Creative Commons:Scott Beale Laughing Squid
Why do this?
It’s a way to connect with other makers in a community outside of major fair, and give voice to their accomplishments.
Grassroots reinforcement of MakerFaire
Paves the way for a strata of fairs of varying sizes
What are the challenges?
Where can I find people?
How do I organize them?
Where can I hold the fair?
What else do I need to know?
What questions would fair organizers have?
How might you help them?
DIY fair options*: *or some combination of the above
It’s the “plant a seed, if it works, great” approach.
Here’s what they’ll need at a minimum:
“ Create your own fair” checklist
Tips on how to connect with other makers
PDF of Maker manual
less of a commitment from Make:, less liability
may not be enough moral support and information to pull it off
may mean that people are making fairs that don’t represent Make’s values
for example, making a fair that’s all about selling vs. about sharing and demonstrating
It’s the “professional nursery” approach.
In this approach, there would be criteria , and there would be an online presence to support LocalFaire folks such as:
an application with acceptance criteria
an online support structure
You may need to have some mechanism of throwing the weight of Make + Craft magazines into a local effort to ensure it meshes with your ethos.
increases the likelihood of success by providing novices with clear criteria
builds communities online and in person
increases Make + Craft’s reach
increases Make + Craft’s reach
The basic qualities to a good fair:
Any fair will need a sense of curatorial aspect to it, so it’s not just a bunch random stuff.
There needs to be a wow factor somewhere.
Want the quality to be high. Don’t want to dilute the Make brand.
Needs a strong statement of purpose, so that in order for people to do a Makerfaire, it has to be tied to a set of guidelines
… Or do you just say that anything goes?
Give them clear criteria for success.
Provide them with an online community at Makerfaire.com where local fair leaders can find tools for developing their fair, and share information and experiences with others around the country… or the world.
A “Localfaire” area of the web site could provide:
Account creation for fair organizer
Access to blog for tracking fair development, and other fair leaders
Editable FAQ page template
Getting the message out
email list support
tips on promotion, advertising
signage and associated graphics
info on table top needs, floor plans
Sample contracts for renting spaces
Other support mechanisms
The magazines and web sites could also provide free advertising to LocalFaire leaders. Allowing them to publish a call for Makers
You may also want to write a column or start a feature along the lines of “This Month’s LocalFaire”
What qualities might a LocalFaire leader have?
The people that might take this on are natural leaders… or cat herders
Passionate about Make + Craft
Connected with others in their community
Able to scrounge, improvise, and are self-motivated
They probably haven’t organized an event before. They may not know how to reach out to people and find others in another arena (such as an electronics person might not know the welder maker in town).
Creative Commons: DrBacchus
How do you get the word out?
Make + Craft sow the seeds through advertising on their web sites and magazines.
Here’s what that might look like…
Need to test drive these ideas by recruiting through advertising on the web or via the magazines… and prototype.