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Five Questions with the Makers of Maker Faire

The annual highlight on our family calendar returns this weekend
2021-10-14 12:00:00

“The greatest Show & Tell on earth is back on The Bund.”

The DIY arts, crafting, science, and technology event of the year, Maker Faire, is back on October 16 and 17 at Yuanmingyuan Lu. Great for kids of all ages, this event is sure to spark imaginations and inspire new passions. SmartShanghai caught up with one of the event’s organizers, Binoy Benhur, for more info on where Maker Faire came from, specifically how it works, and what to expect from this year’s event.

Read on for that and click here to get advance tickets.

SmSh: This is the second edition of Maker Faire Shanghai. Tell us how it started and what it’s all about?

Binoy Benhur: The three of us, David [Lazarowicz], Praveen [Rao], and myself have been in Shanghai for the past 13 years and have been in the event industry and for the past 10.

We all noticed there are a lot of events in Shanghai — PLENTY — but they are all focused on parties and nightlife. Not many events focused on families — even with 28 million people in this city…

SmSh: Maker Faire is a concept from the US?

Maker Faire first started in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The movement has since spread to countries all over the world with over 200+ Maker Faire's in places such as Tokyo, Rome, Shenzhen, Taipei, Seoul, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, and now in Shanghai!

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It’s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it.

Many makers say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY projects (Do-It-Yourself) are often invisible in our communities, taking life in shop backrooms, garages, and on kitchen tables — out of the spotlight of traditional arts or sciences or crafts events.

Maker Faire makes visible these projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day.

SmSh: What exactly is happening at the Makers Faires, do visitors get involved and create stuff, or is it primarily an exhibition?

Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

Visitors will have the  opportunity to touch and try many things through hand-on workshops, interactive exhibits and fun performances.

Hand-on workshops: Make your own robot, fly a drone, build a collaborative artwork with paper circuits,  create an art installation just recycling empty plastic bottles, jewelry making workshop, wood working workshop, DIY circuit making, create a sustainable art, participate in Virtual Reality journey, create STEM solutions for life on Mars, screen Printing, slime making, calligraphy, 3D printing workshops… (90% of our will have provide hands-on activities to get the visitors engaged)

SmSh: Who’s the target audience that usually visits the Makers Fairs? What age range of kids is it good for?

Maker Faire is open to all ages but we do bring a lot of K-12 students with their parents & university students as well. A lot of the workshops are catered to 5-12 years olds but again they are also good for the older kids.

Maker Faire delights people of all ages. It’s the kids who show the greatest enthusiasm and joy as they go from booth to booth. What makes the Maker Faire so unique is that it presents technology in a hands-on way, with less focus on the math and science behind what’s happening.

While it’s certainly fun and educational, there’s a more important reason for the Maker Faire to exist. For many of the kids in attendance, it’s a great introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM (You could also add art, for STEAM).

It looks like it might be a bit rainy weekend ahead, is it going ahead if it’ll rain?

Shanghai weather is unpredictable and very hard to judge by looking at weather apps. Light rain should be fine and we are going ahead and hoping for some sunshine.


Maker Faire is October 16 and October 17 at Yuanmingyuan Lu. Pre-sale tickets are 80rmb, available right here.