Maker Faire brings robots, technology and crafts to Central Florida Fairgrounds this weekend – Orlando Sentinel

Science, engineering, crafts and robots will take the spotlight at Central Florida Fairgrounds this weekend as the annual Maker Faire returns.
Now in its ninth year, the festival is billed as the “greatest show (& tell) on Earth,” bringing together the community to celebrate innovation, creativity and resourcefulness. Nearly 300 exhibits will be spread throughout indoor and outdoor venues at the fairgrounds Nov. 13-14.
“If you go to a trade show, you can see neat things, but nobody’s going to tell you how they built it,” said Ian Cole, founder and producer of the fair. “You can learn to solder, you can learn to screen print a shirt, we’ve got mural painting this year. You’re not just seeing things happen, you’re not just talking to people. You’re getting involved and doing it.”
Some exhibits are specifically geared toward young visitors who may be inspired to learn more about STEM fields. For example, Princesses with Powertools helps to remove gender stereotypes associated with science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“We’ve got concrete examples of kids that we met through the fair years ago who came and attended and got excited and now are machinists or welders or professional robot designers,” Cole said.
Other parts of the show should appeal to children and grown-ups alike, such as “Robot Ruckus,” which includes some teams from the TV show BattleBots.
One event is particularly geared toward adults who enjoy a little friendly competition.
“We have the Power Racing series. It’s grown adults who race these electric, modified kids’ toys around ad track for glory,” Cole said. “It’s absurd but it’s kind of cool, and anyone can get involved. It’s a maximum $500 cost and that’s a lot of fun to see.”
In addition to hands-on exhibits, makers will be set up to sell their handmade creations. Cole said he always gets his Christmas shopping done at the fair.
“The makers that exhibit love sharing not only what they made, but talking about their craft and how they got started, what tools they use and what techniques they have,” Cole said. “There’s a lot of sharing. It’s a very open community where anybody can learn or get excited.”
Ultimately, anyone can find a way to connect with the community of makers set up at the fairgrounds this weekend, Cole said.
“We’re all makers, I think we all make something, whether we enjoy making food or we enjoy tinkering in the garage. Some people consider themselves, you know, an artist or a sewer,” he said. “We think everybody’s a maker. What we find is the maker community likes to work with others to help get them excited and help learn new things.”
Maker Faire Orlando is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 13-14 at 4603 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando. Online advance tickets are $15 for youth and students and $20 for adults. Two-day tickets are $25 for youth and students and $35 for adults. First responders, active military and veterans receive free admission to Maker Faire Orlando with identification. Employees of schools, colleges, universities, home-school educators and libraries also receive free admission. Parking is free. For more information, visit
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