Calling all makers, tinkerers, scientists and families: The third annual Eastern Long Island Mini Maker Faire is scheduled for June 10, 2017, once again in Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson.
The ELIMMF is part of a larger series of maker fairs held around the world. As with the other festivals, the event is a hands-on celebration of all things STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), and an exciting and creative way to spend a Saturday. We have what you need to know about this year’s fair, including the best part: Prices have been cut in half.
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Build a bot, or two. Photo courtesy of the faire.
As part of an effort to make the ELIMMF accessible to more people, organizers have halved entrance fees for 2017. Early-bird pricing until May 27 is $7.50 per person and $30 for a family, which includes two adults and up to five children. After Mary 27, advance tickets jump to $8.75/$33.75 until the day of event, and buying at the door will cost you $10/$37.50. With the exception of food, all activities are included, and your ticket provides admission to the Maritime Explorium for the day. The fair runs from 10am to 5pm.
Enjoy some high-tech Lego fun.
Divided into sections—there’s an outdoor maker green in Harborfront Park; a maker gateway near the ticket booth; and two floors of exhibits inside the village center—the ELIMMF is ideally suited for preschoolers and older. My 5-year-old was intrigued by nearly every booth at the 2016 fair, even with some I thought would be too difficult. While some areas were loosely organized and just let him get busy, more complicated activities (Legos with sensors, for example) had patient advisers walking him through the necessary steps.
As of mid-May, the 2017 schedule was still being finalized. However. we do know many of last year’s activities will return. This includes the Fireball Exhibit from Funtown Studios; the giant, math-inspired creations from George Hart and the Stony Brook Innovation Lab; and the robots made of recycled materials from the Vintage Robot. New this year is a Scientist Café, in which scientists from SUNY Stony Brook discuss environmental science and take questions from the audience. Likewise, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative demonstrates how to make your own plant garden.
Who knows what else you might feel compelled to create? Photo courtesy of the faire.
Some of the hands-on activities you can expect to find include: Ozobots, Makey Makey, littleBits, 3D printers, a horseshoe crab discovery walk, a musical instrument “petting zoo,” the LI Maker Space and its marshmallow shooters, yarn spinning, wood crafting, Lego Mindstorms, and more. Long Island Imagination Playground will be there with its giant configurable blocks, and kids interested in robotics can watch local high schoolers demonstrate their battle bots in the Maker Gateway.
Musical performances and specific workshops are also planned; check the website schedule before you go for exact times.
It's not only about the science.
Food trucks and picnic tables are available near Turtle Park. Restrooms are available inside the visitor center. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, there are plenty of restaurants in Port Jeff within walking distance. The event is sponsored by the Maritime Explorium, Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, and Make Magazine.
Does your resident scientist want to be on the ground at the ELIMMF? The Future Maker Expo section invites preschoolers through sixth-graders to share projects with SUNY Stony Brook, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, Brookhaven National Lab, and the audience. Pre-registration is required and includes two tickets to the event.
Top photo: The push-button Fireball is by the far the most eye-grabbing activity. Unless otherwise noted, photos by the author.