– by Kara Larson –
When we set out to visit the second annual Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 14, 2016, we didn’t know what to expect. We were met with giant sculptures, unusual vehicles, robots, textiles, lasers, and beyond. Maker Faire MSP proved to be the ultimate showcase the region’s growing maker and DIY community. Buildings and outdoor spaces at the Fairgrounds were filled with a rich variety of imaginative businesses, artists, innovators, and most notably, outsiders yearning to get hands-on. We happily explored the grounds while giddy children and eager adults were swinging hammers and learning how to screen print and chiseling at huge rock projects. The creativity was palpable and inspiring.
As we strolled around, taking in the incredible work of 250 makers—tinkerers, coders, woodworkers, crafters, farm hackers, artists, students, designers, chemists, roboticists, entrepreneurs, scientists, food inventors, metalworkers, educators, green technology creators, inventors and bicycle builders—we felt the buzz of creative energy, innovative making, and hands-on learning. Beyond being inquisitive spectators, we were lucky enough to take on a larger role at the Maker Faire. Instead of covering the event in a conventional sense, we decided to engage with the talented wide range of participating makers in a slightly different way. The night before coming out to the Maker Faire, we filled a box with all the names of the participating makers. Then, at the Fairgrounds the following day, we drew one name at random in front of a small crowd of people on the presentation stage. The winning name was to be awarded a feature in this Community Issue of Make It Minnesota to share their project and journey as a maker. I reached my hand into the box and pulled out the name… John Bisgaard, maker of the Commodore Guitar. Let his project represent the incredible innovation showcased at the Maker Faire MSP!