Honolulu's First Mini Maker Faire Not Just For Tech Geeks

This weekend’s event showcases people who make all kinds of stuff.

Photo: Courtesy Honolulu Mini Maker Faire

You could say it’s hard to make it in Hawaii. But come Saturday, if you go to Honolulu’s first-ever Mini Maker Faire, you’ll see there’s a thriving underground network of makers ready to be unearthed.

“There’s a vibrant community out there,” says co-chair Jon Shear. “The idea is to showcase some of the talent, to make sure we give an outlet for people to find out about all the wonderful things people are doing.”

For example, if you’re not buddies with Aisis Chen, a technical director for Hawaii Women in Filmmaking, you might not know that there is a group of innovative filmmakers pushing the limits of what can be done with the medium. Or have you heard of the group of virtual reality designers that meets in the Honolulu Maker Space at the Box Jelly? The Maker Faire will showcase these groups and many others.

The Honolulu Mini Maker Faire is an offshoot of the much-bigger Bay Area Maker Faire (produced by Maker Media, which also publishes Make: Magazine), which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people each year. The goal of the original Faire: to showcase makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. It’s been the catalyst for 100 other Maker Faires that now recur globally, including the World Maker Faire in New York; Obama will host one at the White House this year.

But the Faires aren’t just for tech geeks. Shear and his partner in the Honolulu fair, Alan Solidum, encourage experimentations that run the gamut of creativity: About 30 hobbyists have signed up to present workshops and activities on technologies as antiquated as blacksmithing, and as forward looking as 3D printing. Also attending will be maker-space organizers from Maui and Honolulu, looking for new members. Think of it as equal parts science fair, county fair, and networking event.

Maker Faires bring out concepts and people that we might not meet every day. “The main thing is to raise awareness that this exists in Hawaii,” Shear says. “It’s an underground culture.”

Saturday, March 15, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Iolani School, 563 Kamoku St., free. makerfairehonolulu.com