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A Spectacular Faire

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It’s Thursday and we’re still feeling residual magic from Sunday’s 6th annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire.  Images and video and social media tell some of the story: there was an incredible range of compelling content; a million different individual experiences; and a fantastically warm, community vibe. (Check out our full – and growing – photo set on FlickrNOTE: if you have great pix or video, PLEASE share with us via

Our 2015 show was the largest yet, with 7,000 people attending and 199 exhibits / performances / talks & workshops—plus 23 food and drink vendors.

Perhaps the most important metric though, was the number of new makers at the show: 50% of the makers had never exhibited previously at East Bay Mini Maker Faire. That is an inspiring factor & indicator for a show in its 6th year, and points to the ongoing evolution and expansion of the Maker Movement in the East Bay.

We want to especially thank our many Makers for giving up their day (and days prior in preparation!) to share their work with all of us.  A Maker Faire is nothing without them.

Also our Volunteers — the 150+ parents from, the event’s organizer, Park Day School, who either worked in advance or during the show to make it all “go.”

Make: magazine and Maker Media are the founding organizers behind the global Maker Faire brand.  We appreciate their support and their presence in Learn to Solder and the Maker Shed at the show.

We also offer DEEP THANKS  to our 2015 Sponsors:
Google, Blue Shield of CA, Trackers Bay Area, Sprout by HP, Kudo3D, UC Berkeley, ADT, PlayWell TEK, Seeed Studios, The Gate, City of Oakland, Brushstrokes, Camp510, East Bay Express, Parent’s Press, and LanSharks.

Finally, thank you Attendees!  You appreciate and celebrate the lifelong learner, the curious ones, and we thank you for your vote of support for Making and creativity.  We hope you had a blast & see you next year!

P.S. Besides our Flickr set, here is some other great media reminiscing:

Contra Costa Times: East Bay Mini Maker Faire Has Decidedly Circus Feel

El Disco Lyft’s little vid of our Dark Room:

C.H.I.P. @ East Bay Mini Maker Faire!!

See You at the Faire!

2015 East Bay Mini Maker Faire ProgramWrapping up install here on site and excited for gates to open in the (mid) morn!  We have some surprises in store—there’s action and jaw dropping stuff from the moment you walk in!

Reminder… What to bring:

  • Your tickets, either printed (click link at end of this email to print) or downloaded to your mobile phone
  • Some extra cash for the awesome food trucks, beer booth, and crafter shopping
  • Clothing or items to screenprint
  • Plastic toys & figurines to donate to the Toy Hack booth
  • Yarn to donate for the yarn-bombing and finger knitting zones
  • Hat and/or sunscreen, as a lot of the event is outside
  • Your bike! Free bike valet parking on 42nd Street – come in style!
  • Friends! They can still get tickets here & pre-purchase day-of tickets before hitting the gates.

Those especially prepared will have scanned through:

But lots of folks will just show up at 360 42nd Street, buy a ticket, and see what happens.  And that’s great too.

Either way, see you tomorrow!  The gate opens at 10am.

Christopher Boswell and the Essential Meatball

BoswellBits of cheese, sprigs of parsley, egg, and meatballs… not everything at the Maker Faire is made of metal and plastic.

For an edible Maker experience, look no further than Sunday’s cooking demonstration by Christopher Boswell. Before becoming chef of the Rome Sustainable Food Project, he attended the California Culinary Academy, then trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. He is the author of three RSFP cookbooks: Pasta, Verdure, and Zuppe.

Chris’ newest venture is opening the Good Hope Meatball shop, and at the Faire, he’ll make a meatball recipe from a mixture of beef and pork bound with bread, egg, and cheese. Here Chris shares with us his thoughts on cooking and food:

What makes a good meatball?

What makes a good Italian meatball is the tenderness, which comes both from the bread & the cooking time. The cooking secret is also to simmer them gently not boil them rapidly.

Do different cultures have different meatball traditions?

The idea of the meatball is found all over the world. Whether it’s a Bahn Mi meatball, a Matzoh ball, a kefta, or dishes from many other cultures, they are all from cucina povera,or food of the poor. In fact, many of the techniques like adding bread or simmering in broth are designed to feed a good amount of people with a little bit of food.


Did your approach to cooking change while working at the Rome Sustainable Food Project? Do you have many chances to teach people about food?

My favorite food to cook and eat is Italian food, but having a chance to live for 8 years in Rome had a huge influence on how I approach both eating (because my love for cooking is really second to my love for eating) and cooking.

The Roman palate is very complicated. You have flavors that are very very decisive yet the dishes are light for the most part. They have a way of even taking what would seem like a very heavy dish and preparing it in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re in a food coma afterwards.

Italians in general also eat tons of greens, beans, grains, and vegetables, so I loved eating lots of those along w/ pasta to fill your belly, wonderful cheeses, and a little bit of meat.


– – – – –

Meatballs are originally a food of the poor because they were made with mostly stale bread soaked in milk with the addition of any meat scraps on hand. Today, meatballs in Italy still contain lots of bread – and are thus quite light. In fact, our meatballs are made with equal parts bread and meat.

Meatballs can be made in several different ways, with or without tomato sauce. They can be browned in a pan, deep fried, first pan fried or directly simmered in tomato sauce. If they are made in the sauce, the tomato sauce is used for the pasta as the primo, and the meatballs are served as the secondo. We like to serve the meatballs this way at the RSFP: the spaghetti gets tossed in the tomato sauce and the meatballs themselves get served as the secondo. Feel free to top the spaghetti with the meatballs or serve them on the side as a second course.

This recipe works best with bread that is at least 2 to 3 days old – but day old bread will work. Using stale bread that has been rehydrated allows it to crumble and become flaky.

10 oz day old rustic country bread, crust removed and cut into 1­inch (TK cm) cubes 2 cups whole milk

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

20 parsley sprigs, picked and chopped (about 6 tablespoons) 1/2 garlic clove, pounded

2 oz Grana Padano, grated (about 3/4 cup) 1 egg

Put the bread and the milk in a large bowl so that the bread is fully submerged in milk and soak it for 45 minutes.

Season the ground meat with salt and pepper. Add the hot pepper, oregano, parsley, garlic, Grana Padano, and egg to the meat and mix thoroughly using your hands and set it aside until the soaked bread is ready to use.

Squeeze the milk out of the bread and discard the liquid. Crumble the soaked bread using your thumb and forefingers into the ground meat mixture. Knead the bread and meat mixture. Once the impasto comes together, knead it a few more times as if you were kneading fresh pasta.

Form the mix into small balls, about the size of a golf ball.

Put the olive oil in a 14­inch (TK cm) high­sided sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, gently fry the meatballs for 3 or 4 minutes on one side, or until they are golden brown. Carefully turn the meatballs over using a small spatula or spoon and add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden, then remove and discard it.

When the meatballs are golden brown, add the tomato puree, basil, and hot pepper flakes, and cook, covered with a lid for 50 minutes, or until the meatballs are very tender.

Cyclecide: The Pedal Powered Carnies

 The Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo began in 1996, when members used bikes not just for transportation but for art, music, and performance. Discarded bikes rescued from the dumpster became extra-tall bikes, double-decker bikes, chopper bikes, and pedal-powered machines, including the “Suburban Intruder” Lawn Mower Bike, a Rocket Bike, and the Chupacabra. What began as a club grew into what SF Weekly called in 2003 “an in-demand troupe of welders, musicians, clowns, and general nutcases roughly two dozen strong.”
They made use of their widely varied skills. Club members created Rodeo-style comedic skits and stunts, featuring their metal steeds and riders as clowns, rustlers, and beauty queens. They rope audience members into the show, encouraging them to compete in contests of bike-riding skill, such as barrel racing, piñata-bashing and tall bike jousting, often accompanied by their own mariachi-country-punk band “Los Banos.” For the past ten years, the independently owned and operated Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo has toured around the US and down into Mexico.
Flush with success from the rodeo show, they created the nation’s first and only pedal-powered carnival midway. First came the exciting Dizzy Toy, followed shortly by the Pedal-Powered Ferris Wheel, the nostalgic Bicycle Carousel, the charming Flight of the Bumblebee, the cacophonous Axe Grinder, and more. They’re still building, and they’re still devoted to the idea of the bicycle as a piece of interactive kinetic sculpture that can entertain, startle, and excite.
What they bring, perhaps, is a message of levity during politically and economically stressful times. What they will meet, most likely, will be blank stares.” San Francisco Chronicle April 2003
This year at the Faire, Cyclecide will have three of those midway rides plus a whole pen of hacked and mutant bikes for your riding pleasure.
See you Sunday, Cyclecide!

Food — and Beer — at the Faire!

fistofflour1The food at the Faire is fantastic.  Curated by the folks behind Bites off Broadway, our food truck and booth and beer lineup is pretty inviting!

Hog’s Apothecary — Curtis will be curating local microbrews a cider

Munch India —organic Indian

Fist of Flour—wood fired pizza

Doc’s of the Bay—beef and veggie burgers

Burnt Ends BBQ—mac n cheese, brisket, chicken and ribs

Cassave Taqueria—traditional “taco” truck with a Calfornia twist

Sunrise Deli—Middle Eastern falafel and salads (vegan option)

Girl Friday—Savory Italian doughnuts

Kenny’s Heart and Soul—Soulful chicken, ribs, baked beans, cornbread and greens

Bombzies BBQ—rice chicken bowl with Asian marinades

Tante’s—knishes, garlic fries

Torpedo Sushi—Sushi burritos

Kancha’s Kitchen—Nepalese momos and curries

Groaning Board

Beulah’s Beans—Coffee/teas and sandwiches for kids

Curbside Creamery—Ice cream sandwiches (vegan option)

Rainbow Italian Ice

Ruru Soul Juice—organic juice smoothies and fruit bowls

Bowld Acai—organic frozen acai with fruit

Babsi’s Vienese Treats

We the Minis—pastries

Who is Gonna Beat 27 Crates?


Last year, 15 year old Larkin White had the top stack at East Bay Mini Maker Faire’s Crate Stacking zone.  27 crates!!

14980445733_741496b1c4_z (1)

Love to know who is going to take the Golden Crate this year.  Will it be you?


Bomb it! With Yarn!

No one knows what this year’s yarn bombing will bring, not even the yarn bombers themselves.

Yarn bombing, a street art that uses knitted or crocheted yarn, takes advantage of shapes and spaces in public areas to make something new. A bench at the Embarcadero inspired local artists Lorna and Jill Watt to make this yarn bomb. 3 miles of yarn, 30 hours of crochet, and 3 hours to install .
Other yarn bombs weave over multiple objects or between them, or both.
At this year’s East Bay Mini Maker Faire, artist Ruth Tillman and the Machine Knitters Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area are collaborating to work on an onsite installation.

Attendees will be able to try out a knitting machine and learn what it can do, and help make pieces for a yarn-tagging installation at the Faire. Learn techniques and skills for your crochet and knitting. You can see how automated color patterned knitting works, and what Knitters Guild has been making using an Arduino-hacked knitting machine.

Their “tag” targets for the Faire:

Cross-stitch fence art?

A colorful sycamore?

Or a rainbow bench?

Come see them transform!

The Future of Underwater Exploration at the Faire

the-openrov-trident-an-underwater-drone-2The future of underwater exploration can fit in your handbag, according to the Makers at Berkeley-based OpenROV. Their small, maneuverable robots operate as miniature submarines, giving a clear view of the world below the surface. They can be piloted by anyone with a laptop, and you can see them in action—and operate them!—this Sunday at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire.

17162719962_2640092fe9OpenROV founders Eric Stackpole and David Lang call their inventions “drones” and refer their motion as “flying,” rather than “swimming,” because of the smooth propulsion of their machines. The OpenROV is the size of a toaster and can go as deep as 100 meters.

In their water tank at the Faire, OpenROV team members will show some of their half-dozen models under development, including their latest Trident flier and their “2.8 ROV,” still in a prototype stage. Like their previous models, they come with video cameras and open-source software, along with a host of new features.

The newest innovation may be their eventual integration with the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, allowing a user to “see” through the lens of the drone and to control it with a tilt or turn of the head. “It gives you a sense of what it’s like to be a fish,” says Thomas Moye of OpenROV.

Many people think ocean exploration is “something that professional scientists do, that National Geographic explorers do. That’s not something that I get to do,'” Lang said. The notion that the underwater world is accessible to us, “that’s what we’re trying to instill back in everyone.”

Watch the video of the new Trident model:

The Schedule is Live!

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Very happy to share our 2015 East Bay Mini Maker Faire Schedule of presentations & performances!

From mushrooms as materials with Phil Ross, to East Bay Brass Band, to meatballs with chef Chris Boswell, to drones with Eddie Codel, to robotics with Rosanna Myers and Helen Lurie… it’s an impressive list of massively talented folks. Can’t wait for 10/18!

Teachers! Educator Meetup at the Faire

EBMMF2015.poster.FINAL (1)Are you hearing about hands-on making and STEM or STEAM initiatives and looking for real ways of integrating project-based learning in your classroom? Want to meet like-minded teachers exploring making and design?

Beginner or advanced alike, all teachers are invited to the 2nd annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire Educator Meet-Up on Sunday, October 18th.

Last year 75 educators connected with colleagues and had a chance to see what this “maker”  fuss is about. It was so successful there was no question about doing another.

The framework? Start the day with your peers and some coffee and donuts.  Get out and take in the Faire. Come back and have a chance to compare notes over lunch. Get out there again.  = Simple.

In addition to the morning and lunch meet-ups educators will find hands-on activities and consultants throughout the day at EDHACK, organized by the EBMEM (East Bay Maker Educator Meet-up).

EBMEM is sponsored by Agency by Design (AbD), an educational research project housed at Harvard’s Project Zero. AbD has been a three year investigation into maker-centered learning with an action research component that took place right here at six Oakland schools, including Park Day, Oakland International, and Emerson Elementary. AbD has yielded some powerful understandings and tools to help educators build meaningful maker-centered learning experiences into their teaching. AbD-Oakland team members will be at EDHACK/EBMEM to share some of these understandings and tools.

Register here for the EBMMF Education Meet-Up: Note only educators are available for this ticket; friends of educators need to purchase regular tickets.

There’s a booming awareness of the importance of making in education, and the East Bay Area is a hotbed of activity. Don’t miss this chance to connect, tinker, learn, and make. Register today!