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Wednesday 22 May 2013

Maker Faire 2013

On Sunday we headed down south to San Mateo for Bay Area Maker Faire 2013.

What an amazing festival! This was out first Maker Faire and based on how much fun we had it certainly won't be our last.

There were so many fun exhibits to keep us busy: robots, crazy bikes, 3D printers, a giant hydraulic hand, electronic musical instruments, light shows, an inflatable forest, innovative new toys and loads of things that shot out flames. So many flames!

This Way?

Or that way?

Ava and Lola especially enjoyed playing on and riding the assortment of whacky home made bikes and scooters, many of which we had seen at last year's Pedalfest. My favourite bike was the one that Kim pedalled while the girls and I sat in comfort in the front. Kind of like a homemade Christiania bike. Luckily for Kim this bike had electric assist for when we got a little heavy!

You can see some short videos of us testing out the bikes on Vine, here, here and here.

Kim pedalling us around Make Faire

Riding in comfort

Lola was desperate to try out everything that Ava rode...

...and followed her everywhere!

Scoot, scoot...

Lola had lots of fun riding this scooter

Lola pedals around by hand

Not sure how to ride this one!

Wooden bikes

Pencil bike

Somewhere inside that cupcake is a tiny bike

Ok, so they're not bikes, but still a fun way to get around

The Hand of Man hydraulic hand was pretty impressive. Weighing in at 7 tonne, the mechanical hydraulic hand is controlled by someone with their hand inside a special controller. When we watched, it was a young girl who had the fun job of controlling the hand. As she moved her fingers the fingers of the giant hand moved too. It was pretty amazing to see. A pile of large scrap metal was placed close by and the hand was used to pick them up, drop them, scoop them and smash them. So much fun!

Giant hydraulic hand

Getting ready to pick up large pieces of metal

Thumbs up

The hand successfully picks up a piece of metal

Of course there were lots of robots and crazy "vehicles" to check out...

Big robotic spider

Ava with Roy the Robot


Robot massage

Dragon train

The electric giraffe

...And some familiar characters from tv and movies.

Ava was a little scared of the dalek...

...and this could be why! Exterminate indeed!

Ava and Lola meet R2-D2

Remember I mentioned things shooting out flames? Well, you can see the girls controlling one such creation here on Vine.

Another favourite exhibit with the girls was the Hugalopes stall in the Expo Hall. Here they made crazy critters that could be worn as even crazier hats. They enjoyed playing with them so much that we ended up purchasing a kit each. 

Adding parts to the Hugalopes

Lola wears her creation

And so does Daddy!

The girls with their furry creations

Their very own Hugalopes to take home

3D printers were quite popular at Maker Faire and there were many makers displays their printers and creations in the Expo Hall. It's amazing to think that all the three dimensional creations below were made with a printer. This one's definitely a technology that we'll be seeing much more of in the future.

Lola checks out some sculptures made with a 3D printer

3D printer creating a bracelet

3D printer creating a bracelet

Back outside we made music with the electrical WidStick keyboard and FiddleStick violin. You can see and hear some of our music on Vine; here and here.

Ava plays the FiddleStick

Ava plays the FiddleStick

Kim's turn

Lola has a go on the WidStick

Ava always looks so serious when she tries out violins

In the foyer of the Fiesta Hall we checked out amazing displays by Tapigami, all created with masking tape. It's amazing what you can do with such a simple everyday item if you put your mind to it. The girls attempted to make their own Tapigami creations - not quite as successfully as the pros!


Lola with a Tapigami flower one of the pros made for her

Tapigami garden

Tapigami flowers

Ava and her masking tape giraffe

Lola's favourite exhibit was the Glow Cathedral, a beautiful inflatable forest set up in the centre of the Fiesta Hall. She had so much fun running around amongst the "trees", hugging them and watching the subtle colours change.

Lola hugs her favourite exhibit

It's my favourite

Glow Cathedral

Ava loved the Glow Cathedral too

The Fiesta Hall was full of all sorts of light shows in addition to the Glow Cathedral. We watched Arc Attack, a rock band with a guitarist whose music triggered the most amazing arcs of electricity across the stage. Amazing although a little loud for the girls who preferred the tranquility of the Glow Cathedral. Ava also enjoyed playing with a light panel on furry material and watching the ever changing light panels on the walls.

Ava plays with a light show

Of course, there was lots of food too, including oversized pizza slices!

Can she eat it all? Yes she can!

Amongst all of the futuristic technology we had some good old fashioned fun playing with hula hoops.

Hula hooping

Lola gives it a try with a mini hoop...

...and a gigantic hoop!

Our last stop for the day was the boob trampolines. Yes, you read correctly! Two trampolines with pink boob shaped domes over the top! I don't think that the girls noticed that the trampoline enclosures resembled giant boobs, but they sure did have fun bouncing in them. In fact, we all spent quite a bit of time at the end of the fare bouncing.

Boob trampolines


Bouncing together

So much bouncy fun

I love this shot of Ava - even though she's missing her head!

So much fun

Rolling around laughing

We had so much fun at Maker Faire we didn't want to leave when it finished. We'll be counting down the days until Maker Faire 2014. Can't wait!

Hooray for Maker Faire!


  1. Oh wow, what an amazing place! Me and the girls have been having breakfast looking at all the pictures - so much creativity! And so much fun! And R2D2!!! The girls loved the light forrest - it reminds me of that installation a couple of Fringe's back with all the blow up shapes and lights and tunnels, do you remember that one? By the way, I love your hair. So rare to see photos of you in here:) And Elliot's favourite was Kim with the huga-something on his head! What a great shot!

    1. It was such a fun day. You guys would've loved it - especially R2-D2!
      Ava and Lola both loved the inflatable forest. It reminded me of Amococo from the Fringe Festival too. That was an amazing installation. I would love to see it again.

  2. We went last year when my daughter was a few months old. We missed this year but want to take her next year. Lots of fun things for kids and grown ups.

    1. Maker Faire really is such a fun day out and there's something for everyone. We can can't wait to take the kids again next year.

  3. We went on Saturday and really enjoyed the Hugalopes too. My little guy named his "Jam", so yes, we have a "Monster Jam" (and honestly I didn't influence his name). Jam sits on our reading chair and dawns a new hat each day. His favorite hats are the police man hat and a birthday hat. Sometimes he wears both at the same time. I love little kids' imaginations.


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