Zaq Roberts, Event Producer for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire, recently sat down for a Q+A with Sara Isenberg of the Santa Cruz Tech Beat.
SCTB: For readers who don’t already know, what is the SC Mini Maker Faire?
ZR: Part science fair, part county fair, part electronics show, the Second Annual Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire aims to inspire the public through Do-It-Yourself science, technology and art, hands-on workshops, panels, and much more. The Faire will feature over 50 exhibitors showing off projects ranging from amateur garage concepts to start-up prototypes to full-scale corporate production, and they are all eager to engage with the public and explain about their work. There’s a heavy emphasis on all things tech, from hardware and robotics to software and coding, across a range of platforms and industries, and many people are drawn to the Faire because of the access to those ideas. And, it’s also a faire — so there’s fabulous musicians and performance art, tons of hands-on projects to be made, an amazing Food Truck food court, art cars and giant bubbles, and so much more.
SCTB: What was last year’s event like?
ZR: 2016 was the first time that Santa Cruz hosted a Mini Maker Faire, so we weren’t sure what to expect, and frankly we were blown away by the response from the community. Almost 1700 people attended the event — people were buying tickets with just two hours left in the day! And, that was going up against the city’s Earth Day celebration, which was a week later than we had anticipated — fortunately this year it’s a week before our event. Some of the food vendors ran out of certain dishes, the demand was so high. I’ve never seen a crowd of 300 people cheering a magician like I did at the Faire, and that was a real highlight for me. Not to mention having an R2D2 there courtesy of the AstroMech guild.