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The Greatest Show (and Tell) in the Bay Area

Touted as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth,” there’s no limit to what you will find at the Bay Area Maker Faire. This weekend-long show is the biggest craft, science, and innovation faire of the year and is a magnet for thousands of Bay Area families. Open to tinkerers, engineers, designers, and hobbyists of all ages, Maker Faire showcases all the cool, funky, and innovative ideas created by a community of “makers.” Half Burning man, half county faire, 100% DIY, the Bay Area Maker Faire is a must-see for creative minds of all ages. There are over 900 exhibitors expected at the event this weekend, but here is a small sampling (we didn’t want give away too much detail!) of what you can expect.

Where: The Bay Area Maker Faire takes place at the San Mateo County Event Center located at 1346 Saratoga Dr. in San Mateo.

Maker Faire

When: Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 19 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

How to get there: Most people go there by car, park at one of the designated parking lots and reach the center using free shuttle buses. Get there early to avoid waiting too long for some activities or rides. If your family is bike-proficient, you can take advantage of free bike valet parking courtesy of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

What To Expect: You must come back home with at least one item your kid made during the faire, one super-ambitious project in mind, and a new interest – also possibly a burning desire to build medieval catapults in your spare time.

What To Do: The Maker Faire is an eclectic mix of people who sell their creations, people who offer hands-on activities, (for a fee or free of charge) and people who display their work. Kids love the outdoors area where they can ride pedal-powered machines, listen to live bands, climb in Burning Man-ready vehicles, or follow robots roaming the grounds. To get to the real hands-on activities, find the indoors crafts area where most of the making takes place for little hands, with an incursion in the Electronics and Technology areas.

Maker Faire

What NOT to miss: Create a short Clay Animation video that will bring your creations to life through stop-motion cameras. Engage in full on catapult warfare using popsicle sticks, duct tape, and lincoln logs to build a weapon capable of knocking down our opponent’s castle.

You’ve played the Rube Goldberg style board game, now you can see it come to life. Be sure to grab a seat for the larger-than-life game of Mousetrap, featuring its own musical accompaniment and acrobatics. There are showings throughout the day, and this promises to be one of the most entertaining exhibits at the faire.


Build a robot of your own design using the super cool 3D printer. For the budding green thumbs, make seed bombs that can be chucked anywhere and yield beautiful flowers.


If your little monsters want to try something a bit more destructive, climb inside the cockpit of the massive hydraulic sculpture known as The Hand of Man. Using the glove control, crush cars just like the incredible Hulk.


Check out all the cool kid-crafted stations and exhibits like the Test your balance on a homemade hovercraft designed by an extremely talented father-son team.

There are literally hundreds of things to see and do at the Maker Faire, with exhibits and demonstrations that include everything from robotics and electronics to games and art. You can explore a more detailed sampling of what you’ll see at Maker Faire by browsing through their category page.

Where To Eat: Bring your own lunch or eat at the yummy food stands but get there early as the lines get long and small appetites don’t like to wait!

Tickets: Buy them online to enjoy early bird discounts and avoid long lines.


– Laure Latham


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