In the community

County creators to get chance to shine at Maker Faire

ONTARIO – Those who create through art, science or technology will get a chance to show off their work at a new local event, the Malheur Maker Faire.

The event is scheduled at Four Rivers Cultural Center for Saturday, April 13. The free public fair is billed as “the greatest show-and-tell on earth” and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Frontier Hub for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Malheur Education Service District, and the OSU Extension Office for Malheur County are hosting the first-of-its-kind event for the region. It will bring together students, scientists, and all sorts of creatives, including crafters and hobbyists, to showcase their work.

Nickie Shira, director of the Frontier Hub, and Barbara Brody, an associate professor of practice family and community health, said students from the county’s Chief Science Officers group were inspired by their 2022 visit to the Central Oregon Maker Faire in Bend. Shira said students wanted a similar event in the county for their peers and family.

Brody said part of what they do is empower students from the CSO group, a countywide program, to become decision makers in the region.

“In order to empower them to be decision makers,” Brody said, “we really have to value what they say.”

The event invites “show-and-tell makers”  and “selling makers” to show off their creations and projects, according to the Frontier Hub website.

The show-and-tell maker is the “entry point” to participating in the event. In this category, participants can have a booth to demonstrate their projects, educate others on them, and engage attendees with hands-on activities.

Meanwhile, the Frontier Hub explains that a selling maker is one who promotes and sells their creation. 

Shira said the event is for creators of all ages to demonstrate their work, including work in science, technology, arts and crafts.

Shira said the idea behind the Maker Faire is to give creators a venue to demonstrate what they have done and how they create to inspire others, especially students.

The first Maker Faire was in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. Since then, events have gone international. Youth organizations that have participated in the events include 4-H, FFA, and the Boys and Girls Club. According to the Frontier Hub website, area youth groups are encouraged to get involved, as are local school districts.

Some creators signed up so far include a graduate student in robotics from the University of Washington who will demonstrate projects and programs he has created, according to Shira. She said an artesian bread maker would be on hand to explain the chemistry behind breadmaking.

Brody said the event would be a “self-paced” learning environment where those curious about a project can learn more about it.

According to information about the event on the Frontier Hub website, the event is intended to be family friendly. Certain items and themes, including drugs, sex and violence are prohibited.

The deadline to sign up to become a selling or show-and-tell maker at the event is Wednesday, April 3.

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