Making It Happen

Whether you’re a tinkerer or fancy yourself a serious inventor, the perfect opportunity to show off your creations is arriving early next year. The first Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire will be held at the Historic Fifth Street School on Feb. 2, celebrating the do-it-yourself dreamer.

The event, sponsored by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, is a smaller version of the Maker Faires that take place around the world. The Maker Faire was created by Make magazine in 2006 to show off DIY art, engineering and science innovations. Maker Faires are now held around the world, and the largest ones—in San Mateo, Calif., and New York—draw up to 100,000 attendees. The Mini Maker Faire in Las Vegas won’t be nearly that big, but it should still be worth attending. One of the organizers, Zappos software engineer Pawel Szymczykowski, describes the Faire as “a little like a bite-size version of Burning Man where the creative spirit can flourish—but without all of the naked people and dust storms.”

The seeds of the Faire were planted in 2008, when a group of local hardware hackers, or makers, created a hackerspace called SYN Shop, which became a central place for them to meet, share ideas and help each other with projects. SYN Shop now provides tools and hosts classes for anyone who has the interest but not yet the skill to make whatever they want.

Earlier this year, the shop’s organizers decided to work together on a larger project to introduce local makers and their inventions to the public, which led to the creation of the Mini Maker Faire. Most people think of the downtown tech community as a burgeoning place for Internet startups, but there are other kinds of technology being crafted here using laser cutters, 3-D printers and blowtorches—just the kind of ingenuity for which the Maker Faire has become known.

There is no charge for independent inventors who simply want to show off their creations, but there is a $100 registration fee for those who want to sell their stuff. Booth applications must be submitted by Dec. 22. Tickets also go on sale this month for the all-ages, family-friendly event. For more information, go to

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