Follow Your Nose, Navigating Maker Faire

What drew me into the Maker Faire might surprise some: I was asked to volunteer to help guests sort out their recycling. While not the most glamorous job, I was posted next to the main stage and really got into character, the smell of ketchup giving me flashbacks from when I worked as a cashier at McDonald’s. 

For the most part, guests were cooperative in supporting the fair’s effort to be as close to zero waste as possible. 

Day two I returned on a mission to find useful technology to expand my design range. Entering the pavilion in The New York Hall of Science, I detected a faint odor of cool ranch Doritos. Proud to have made the onerous journey two days in a row, I walked straight into the caf n paid $2 in all quarters for my own bag of the trendy snack, then sat down at what I thought must be the cool table. Having downloaded the Maker Faire App the day before, I checked which exhibitors I had favorited and scrolled through them with powdery snack fingers. 

Circling around a dazzling array of educational kids exhibitors, I could smell almond soap and hand sanitizer. I spoke to some of the best available facilitators of techy type design labs, one at which I enthused a bit much, and recoiled at my Dorito breath. 

Next I decided to check out the Bust Craftacular exhibitors, in the muddy shanty town close to the exit of the fair. Donning my headphones, I blasted The Cold Cold Hearts but nothing could block out the savory fragrance of ramen noodles. There were some very alluring organic beauty and skin care ranges, and talented jewelry hobbyists, but as far as people advancing the craft of clothing design, it was sadly lacking. Perhaps Bust could do better in presenting professional talent in a more respectable light. I was very depressed looking at this and spoke to no one as my kitten heels sank into the soft earth. 

Seeking adventure, changing my soundtrack to electronic music, I picked up my chin and traversed across towards the 3-D printing village. En route, I was handed a pair of safety goggles courtesy of Google. There was a long line for Google and Intel-related activities with a faint odor of cherry kool-aid mysteriously emanating from an unknown source. 

Turning the volume up to drown out hecklers who presumably got tired of working their booths, I located the 3-D printer folks and gathered Intel on who can create a printer collaboratively, based on your needs, and for the best rate. Dizzy with all the information, I nearly wandered into the drone-building and flying zone. Terrified, because even among geeks, I am that person who will be struck in the eye with a flying object, so naturally I fled. 

Touching my toe to a discarded pipe cleaner was also a thing that happened. Then I checked out the Barnes & Noble pop-up shop which was swamped with shopper frenzy (take note Bust.) it was beautifully merchandised and well-staffed with both professional sales staff as well as security.

Tired, sore, and slightly humbled by everything I saw; however, somewhat triumphant as well, I gratefully accepted my complimentary copies of Bust on the way out, excited to read them when I get home. The smell of ink and a petroleum/nylon backpack that says microchip dangling off my arm. Am I ready to drink the kool-aid? Possibly.