On a recent weeknight, a number of artistic powerplayers gathered mafia-style in an eerily quiet hotel lounge. In hushed tones, they talked shop over cocktails. But though the atmosphere felt shrouded in secrecy, the group wasn't planning anything insidious. Quite the opposite, in fact. The committee was in the early stages of organizing a big event for Boise: Maker Faire.
The inaugural Maker Faire was hosted by Make Magazine in 2006 in San Mateo, Calif. Like an adult science fair, the two-day exhibition featured hundreds of makers, hands-on workshops, demos and DIY competitions. Now Flagship Maker Faires draw out hundreds of thousands of folks, and independently organized Mini Maker Faires are hosted in cities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
"One of the people I was talking to, she assumed this was a lot of handcrafts. ... Our Maker Faire is going to stretch from food and sustainability to hacking and computer development," explained web guru Wendy Fox.
The Boise Mini Maker Faire is slated to take place in May 2013 at a yet-to-be-disclosed downtown location. It will feature displays from at least 100 local makers, along with ample workshops, all in a street fair-esque environment.
"We're in the process of defining what is a maker so people can start getting their heads around the concept," added project management guru Heather Bauer. "First the concept and then the more concrete things later."
According to boisemakerfaire.com, the group's working definition of a maker is:
"Makers create for their own joy and to see others' wonder. They share and learn and create, destroy mysteries and tell the world how they did it. They find potential inside objects others have cast aside and make the old new again. They know the world through keeping its arts alive and constantly revive crafts and skills that might otherwise die out if we weren't reminded of their authenticity and beauty."
At this point in the process, organizers have designated a list of ringleaders in a variety of arenas--for example, Eric Gilbert of Finn Riggins is heading up Rock and Indie Music and Adriana White of Begin Vegan is in charge of Food/Farming.
"Half of the people will come to us, and then the other half, we're going to have to work through the networks to find someone who's making something really cool that we want to showcase," explained event producer Jen Kniss.
You can apply to be a maker at boisemakerfaire.com.