Milwaukee Maker Faire to feature new events, more than 200 exhibitors

Fifth annual event will be held Sept. 28-30

A giant hydraulic mechanical hand in action at the Maker Faire.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

Maker Faire Milwaukee, an annual event celebrating technology, education, science, art, engineering and sustainability, will return to Wisconsin State Fair Park on Sept. 28-30.

The fifth annual event will feature about 230 exhibitors who will showcase robotics, advanced manufacturing, solar energy, electronics, software development, handcrafted artwork and other creations.

The Maker Faire, which is co-hosted by Betty Brinn Museum and Milwaukee Makerspace, is free and open to the public. New this year, the fair will kick off with a Friday Night Market from 5-9 p.m. on Sept. 28. It will be held on Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s event will feature other new activities, including a new Midwest TechConnect event sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and the Milwaukee Institute that will allow technology-driven southeastern Wisconsin companies to share best practices.

ManpowerGroup is sponsoring a new event called the Industry, Career and College Exchange, which will include a discussion of new career paths. The fair will also host a Making in Education conference, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, for K-12 educators to learn about integrating maker education into their schools.

Organizers expect about 40,000 people, including inventors, educators, students, do-it-yourselfers and technology enthusiasts, to attend this year’s event.

Maker Faires, which are held in cities across the world, showcase the growing “maker movement,” a celebration of creativity, product development and manufacturing through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Recognizing the growing movement, in 2013, Betty Brinn Museum began investing in more project-based learning opportunities in the community, including Maker Faire Milwaukee, which launched in 2014.

“The maker movement is having a huge impact on classroom education and workforce development and economic opportunity,” said Carrie Wettstein, producer of Maker Faire Milwaukee and managing director of Brinn Labs.

Pete Prodoehl, communications director for Maker Milwaukee, said the event has drawn in more exhibitors each year.

“We’ve had over 200 makers each time and we’re seeing new people come in, who may have attended a previous year and decide to showcase, and we have old favorites who keep coming back year after year with new projects,” Prodoehl said. “We’ve seen makers come back with more impressive things that they’re creating each year.”

While the event attracts high-tech displays, Prodoehl said the range of exhibits is much wider than that.

“We have prop makers, we have ceramics, people who make jewelry and people who build crazy home automation systems; it spans the gamut,” he said. “The whole idea is for people to come and just get inspired by what they see.”

The event coincides with Harvest Fest, which will also be held at State Fair Park from Sept. 28-30 and is free to the public.

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