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Tuesday, December 12 News

Westport’s Maker Faire expected to host 10,000

WESTPORT—When Mark Mathias took his kids to a Maker Faire in New York City he was astounded by both the excitement the event brought but also how much they benefited intellectually from it.

“My kids had so much fun that they didn’t even know they were learning,” Mathias said.

That transformative experience prompted him to bring a version of the Maker Faire to Westport just a year later in 2012, which exploded with enthusiasm from the outset. In what was the first Maker Faire event in the state, the Westport Library hosted over 2,000 creative minds—ranging from interested attendees to artists and scientists—who learned and shared their ideas and work.

“It was pretty much a party for geeks,” Mathias said. “We planned it for 800 people max and we were astounded when 2,200 showed up.”

Saturday will mark the sixth annual Maker Faire in Westport and for the first time will shed the “mini” title.

More Information

Westport Maker Faire

Where: Westport Library and Bedford Square in Westport

When: Saturday April 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Price: Free

“This year, because of the amount that we’ve grown over the years we’re a Maker Faire instead of a Mini Maker Faire,” Alex Giannini, co-chair of the Maker Faire, said.

“We’re going to have more than 120 makers and were expecting 10,000 attendees,” he added.

Because of the largest crowd in the event’s history anticipated, this year will also mark the first time it stretches beyond the library grounds and into the newly completed Bedford Square development downtown.

There will be four different virtual reality technologies participants can experience, one of which will allow them to simulate the flying of a plane. “We’re also going to have a virtual reality flight simulator. They can fly an airplane from sitting in a chair in Bedford Square,” Mathias said.

Also at Bedford Square, fairgoers will be able to test out Microsoft HoloLens which creates realistic holograms through a headset using both augmented and virtual reality, Giannini said. Skiorsky will bring a wind tunnel for people to fly paper planes in.

“This is completely unexpected and every year I’m amazed at what I see every year. And every year we have something new that people have never seen or heard of,” Mathias said.

The Maker Faire is free and is April 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

@chrismmarquette; cmarquette@bcnnew.com

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