Creators, dreamers, artists and do-it-yourselfers of all ages and backgrounds will gather this weekend for a celebration of grassroots innovation and homegrown ingenuity.
Maker Faire Orlando celebrates its 10th anniversary during the two-day festival at Central Florida Fairgrounds Nov. 5-6. The event showcases the creativity of Florida’s maker community through hands-on demonstrations and activities for the entire family.
Cosplay, in particular, will take the spotlight at this year’s gathering with costume makers showing off their handmade props and attire.
“Especially for the artists in the cosplay community, what they like is the opportunity to show their craft more so than just exhibiting the final product,” said Ian Cole, the Orlando event’s founder. “There are a lot of mentors in our crowd, a lot of people who will help someone else get started and learn.”
Cole was inspired to create this forum for Orlando’s maker community after visiting a similar event in California.
“I took my oldest son, who was 11 at the time, to Bay Area Maker Faire in San Francisco in 2011, and we both left so pumped up and amazed and excited. There’s that feeling when you meet your tribe,” Cole said. “We thought 300 people would show up and it would be a fun party with our friends and 2,500 people showed up the first year.”
That’s when Cole became an “accidental event producer” and knew the festival would persist.
“Makers feel like everyone is a maker,” he said. “For us to connect different communities and have them show off their craft, and get new people into their communities, it’s just super rewarding.”
Things to Do
A look at entertainment and sporting events in Orlando and around Central Florida.
Asher Adams remembers the first Orlando mini Maker Faire when he showcased a PVC instrument that resembled something the Blue Man Group might play. In recent years, his interest has pivoted to photography.
“During the pandemic, I started taking interest in backyard astrophotography. It was something that was really easy and accessible to do from home,” Adams said. “I fell down that rabbit hole of learning everything you can do to capture the night sky from home, which was really cool.”
At Maker Faire Orlando, Adams will return for the first time in nearly a decade to display his astrophotography rig and answer questions for aspiring shutterbugs.
“Even if it’s just doing stuff with your iPhone, there are so many good resources between your camera, star charts and apps,” he said. “I’m excited to be back and excited to hopefully help people learn about the night sky.”
A decade into this festival’s Central Florida tenure, organizers anticipate 10,000 attendees and 250 exhibits including power racing, combat robots, learn to solder, take-it-apart and make-a-shirt. Other exhibits allow visitors to experience drones, daleks, belt sander racing and homemade creations of all kinds.
“Some people are looking for a hobby, some people are looking for their next business venture. It’s a great place to come feel the vibe where anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” Cole said. “You have this amazing group of creative, innovative people all in one space. You can’t go wrong with a crowd like that.”
- When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 5-6
- Where: 4603 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando
- Tickets: $15 for youth and students and $20 for adults in advance; $20 for youth and students and $25 for adults once the event begins. First responders, active military and veterans, employees of schools, colleges, universities, home-school educators and libraries receive free admission.
- Parking: On-site parking is free.
- Food: Vendors are available at the festival.
- More information: makerfaireorlando.com