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Inventors Gear Up For Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science

By Paul DeBenedetto | September 26, 2012 4:38pm

QUEENS — Artists, engineers, scientists and inventors of all sorts are gearing up for this weekend's Maker Faire, a two-day exhibition in Queens dedicated to building and creation.

The event, which takes place at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on Friday and Saturday, will showcase inventions and teach attendees how to create.

Maker Faire started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, as a way to share techniques and get people interested in being hands-on, said "Maker-in-Chief" Sherry Huss, one of the event's organizers.

"There used to be workshops in the house," Huss said. "If you bought something that broke, you didnt throw it out, you brought it into the workshop in the garage.

"Instead of throwing it out, how can it actually be reused or repurposed or have a new life?" Huss added.

After some initial success in the Bay Area, Maker Faire branched out in 2010. There are now shows in New York and Detroit, Huss said.

The first Bay Area Maker Faire brought roughly 22,000 makers out of the woodwork for Earth Day weekend, Huss said. At this year's Bay Area event, about 100,000 people showed up, and Huss estimates 45,000 at this weekend's New York fair.

Huss said the festival's DIY ethos makes attendees feel like part of the action.

"A lot of events are 'look but don't touch,'" Huss said, comparing Maker Faire to other festivals. "We're really trying to get people to think about objects, to really get them involved in making."

Organizers chose the New York Hall of Science because of a mutual admiration for knowledge, Huss said.

"We have the same mission and goals," Huss said. "Get kids hooked early so they can understand, and learn, and find interests."

At the New York event, makers and non-makers alike can enjoy a number of presentations, like a presentation by the "best paper airplane designer in the world" John Collins, a lifesize version of the children's game Mouse Trap, and a Coke Zero and Mentos "fountain" set up to shoot soda more than 20 feet into the air like a mini version of the Las Vegas Bellagio Fountains.

Kids can meet other young inventors at the "Meet the Young Makers" panel, where an interviewer will talk to six kids about their experiences making things.

One of the young people on the panel is 15-year-old Joey Hudy from Arizona, who in February was invited to the White House science fair where he showed off his "extreme marshmallow cannon" to President Barack Obama.

Huss said she hopes the event will encourage people young and old to start becoming more creative.

"We're like Martha Stewart for geeks," Huss said. "You can buy the pie, but it's better if you learn to make it yourself."

The Maker Faire takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket and schedule information can be found at the event's official website.