Organizers of the Elkhorn Mini Maker Faire, Rebecca Blom (on left) and Eryca Card (on right) join representatives from Momentum Art, of Chicago, with their collaborative street art on display at last year’s Faire. This year’s event is Sunday, Feb. 16 at Elkhorn Area High School. The day prior a variety of workshops are being held (advanced registration required.) Submitted photo

Elkhorn Mini Maker Faire to feature workshops, laser show

By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

While organizers are in the final, frenzied preparation for this year’s Elkhorn Mini Maker Faire, they’re also beaming with excitement that the event will span two days and offer a laser light concert this year.

The event outgrew the middle school the first year, so was moved to the high school last year. In addition, it’s grown enough to now be a two-day event, slated this weekend, Feb. 15 and 16.

On Saturday the 15th, it will feature a variety of workshops that people sign up for in advance.

“They will attend one, two, three or as many classes as they can fit in their schedule that day. Many of the workshops are being offered at no cost to our guests,” Eryca Card said.

She and Rebecca Blom are the main organizers of the Faire and Card said another exciting feature will be a laser light concert by Laser Fusion of Lake Geneva at 6 p.m. that Saturday night. That will require $10 tickets for the 90-minute show, which will take place in the high school auditorium.

On Sunday, the main feature will be Maker Faire Booths (concessions, culinary, engineering, a pancake artist, robotics, soldering, etc.)

“The booths all have something to take away, mostly for free, but some for purchase,” Card said.

Some of the highlights of the Mini Maker Faire will include:

  • Cake Decorating Contest with registration for the workshop on Saturday, but then the cakes/cupcakes will be dropped off on Sunday morning and be on display all day. The Adult Category will net at least $100 cash; Elementary and Middle/High School competitions will have a $50 gift card for each winner in those groups;
  • Raffles – Card said many businesses across the area donate items for the Maker Faire raffle. Details about prizes can be found on the website. Raffle tickets are $1 each, six for $5, or 30 tickets for $20;
  • According to Card, they’re extremely excited about this year’s Goldsmith Sponsors – Precision Plus and Laser Fusion. “They have really allowed us to bring some magic to the faire this year. We are happy to be partnering with each of them, as well as our other sponsors,” she said.

The featured maker on Sunday will be Dancakes and Card encourages guests to stop by and indulge in their edible pancake art.

It draws a big crowd

The event has welcomed between 1,200 and 1,500 guests each year and Blom and Card hope to surpass those number this year. One of the main goals is to ensure people can afford to attend.

“We try to make the event as affordable as possible. Most of our booths are hands on, free of charge, and often allow our guests to walk away with something they have made themselves,” Card said.

The community supports the event, too, as area food vendors fills the cafeteria. Lakeland Animal Shelter –one of the beneficiaries of the faire – has adopted out pets the last two years.

The money raised at the event goes directly back to the district’s Maker Spaces, however, the vendors who are from a different school district keep the money they raise for their own district.

“We are here to support education and the maker initiative… No matter what school you are from,” Card said.

How it began

The Mini Maker Faire event came to be after Eryca Card had visited the Milwaukee Maker Faire a few years back.

“I knew it was exactly what our students and our community needed, and that I needed to try to bring it to Elkhorn. I contacted our Superintendent, Jason Tadlock, who supported the idea, and Rebecca and I started planning,” Card said.

It’s a celebration of the maker movement, Card said, and it started as a small idea to encourage local student’s learning to come to real life by presenting their knowledge, talents, inventions, and showcase their talents.

“We are excited to include all types of makers, including tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors,” Card said.

She said the district has many maker spaces at all three levels – elementary, middle school and high school – and the maker faire is a way for the district to support the learning and tinkering that goes on in those spaces.

“When you look into the eyes of a student who is doing Project Lead the Way, creating, collaborating, and designing – you see the spark to their dreams, and you want to stop at nothing to get them to accomplish their dream,” Card said.

The hours on Saturday, Feb. 15 revolve are set by workshops followed by the laser light show at 6 p.m. that night. On Sunday, the faire, which is open to the public, will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $5 a person at the door or $20 per family plus a service charge. Guests are also asked to bring donations for Lakeland Animal Shelter (a list of needed items can be found on the Maker Faire website.)

To learn more including registering for workshops, volunteering or purchasing tickets to the laser light show, send an email to makerfaire@elkhorn.k12.wi.us or visit elkhorn.makerfaire.com.

 
 

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