Tinkerers gathering in Grand Rapids


The makers of Challenger Deep will be one of the groups attending Mini Maker Faire this weekend. Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Museum

A collection of creative thinkers, tinkerers and makers will come together Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire involves more than 70 groups of innovative thinkers and makers who enjoy tinkering, hacking, building and designing new technology-based inventions.

It is a spinoff of the original Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif. The Maker Faire Bay Area brought more than 130,000 people to the California city in May.

Grand Rapids’ Mini Maker Faire was organized by GR Makers, The Geek Group, Grand Rapids Community College, Genesis Inc. and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Makers of all ages were invited to showcase what they have learned by sharing their work. Makers visiting the museum include Allendale FIRST Robotics, Zynoc Clean Energy, The Geek Group, Robohand, Challenger Deep, a portable blacksmith shop and more, including high school and middle school students’ robots.

Some exhibitors will simply put their inventions and creations on display, while others also will sell their work.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at makerfairegr.com or by calling the Grand Rapids Public Museum at (616) 456-3977. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $3 for children. A two-day pass comes at a discounted price, and members of the museum receive free admission.

Wolverine World Wide, Tekton Tools, Cascade Engineering, Mutually Human, Adam Bird Photography and Taco Bar Co. are sponsoring the Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire.

The Maker Faire idea started in San Mateo in 2006 and has grown to include events in Austin, Detroit and New York City.

Mini-gatherings like the one this weekend in Grand Rapids have been held in Ann Arbor, Aspen, Kansas City, Boston, Tokyo and Paris.

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