By Margie M. Palmer
North Park businesses Shaper Studios and The Homebrewer San Diego were among the more than 200 exhibitors that participated in the second annual San Diego Maker Faire.
The award-winning, family-friendly event — celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability and more — returned to Balboa Park on Oct. 1 and 2.
Exhibits included everything from art and design, robotics, education and nature.
“This year we really wanted to showcase San Diego’s unique making culture including beer-making and the surfboard community,” said Stephania Villar, social media coordinator for the sponsoring Balboa Park Cultural Partnership.
“Surfing culture is huge in San Diego, which is why we wanted to find someone like Shaper Studios, which empowers people to make their own boards so they are able to leave their mark on something.”
“We were excited that the event reached out to us earlier this year,” Shaper Studios owner Christopher Clark said, “and we were excited to be able to bring the art of surfboard design to the San Diego community. We hope to bring the art of surfboard shaping out of the shadows and celebrate the art in a way that inspires attendees to experience surfing in a new way. We had live surfboard shaping and interactive surfboard design and education. It was a hands-on experience for attendees.”
George Thornton, who owns The Homebrewer San Diego, said he first learned of the event when it debuted in 2015. This year, he said, event organizers contacted them because they wanted to include more homebrew-related exhibits.
“We were happy to play a role in spreading the craft beer DIY joy,” he said. “We hope to increase the exposure to home-brewing and show how fun and easy it is to make amazing beers at home. We had a display of the necessary equipment and ingredients to make beer. We were able to talk about the process and evangelize as well.”
Attendees immersed themselves in a festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. This year’s event had an even bigger footprint than it did last year, Villar said.
The 2016 Maker Faire boasted a dozen participating venues, including places such The Old Globe and San Diego Museum of Man, along with two outdoor areas.
“Makers are people who see something and decide they want to do something about it, whether that’s solving a problem discovering a product that needs to be improved,” she said. “They have an incredible passion about doing something that’s fun and creative that translates into something practical. Sometimes it’s just for the fun of it, which is why people can expect to see such a huge range of makers at this year’s fair.”
Villar said the event truly had something for everyone.
“There were so many exhibitors and there was such a passion in the air. There were so many activities where you were encouraged to be hands-on and where you were encouraged to touch and create. It was a very unique experience,” she said.
—Margie M. Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.