Local
7:18 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

First of its Kind Event in Pittsburgh Blends Old and New

This weekend a first-of-its-kind event is coming to Pittsburgh. It's the Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire.

"Maker fairs are a place that celebrates the do-it-yourself spirit and that pull out folks of all ages who want to invent and create and learn and get inspired by people who are tinkerers themselves," said Angela Seals, program manager at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and lead coordinator of the Pittsburgh Mini-Maker Faire.

This Sunday, the museum will host the 6-hour indoor/outdoor festival, which features 70 exhibits from around the region. But these aren't your typical fair exhibits. They'll include sauerkraut-powered robots, interactive clothing, and the Great American Horn Machine, the world's loudest mobile musical instrument.

"It is about the size of a semi-truck, and it has a collection of 48 horns and steam whistles, and ship and train air horns on it that are all computer controlled by a MIDI protocol. It's essentially a 620 air tank that powers all these horns, and it plays music," said Seals.

The first Maker Faire in the U.S. was held six years ago in San Mateo, California. This Sunday's Pittsburgh faire will be the first such event in the state. Seals said that the "Maker Movement" has really taken off over the last decade, and melds the old and the new — like a dress that tells a story when it's touched.

"There have been maker movements before. There were certainly maker movements in the 70s, but now the availability and the affordability of new technologies like conductive thread make it easy for someone in their sewing room or their garage to start tinkering," said Seals.

The Mini Maker Faire takes place Sunday October 23 from noon to 6:00pm at the Children's Museum. Find out more by visiting the Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire website.