Kalispell Mini Maker Faire
2:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Montana's first "Makers Faire"

Flathead Reporter Katrin Frye talks with Flathead County Librarian April Szuch about the upcoming Mini Maker Faire in Kalispell.
The Kalispell Mini Maker Faire follows in the tradition of the San Mateo, California Maker Faire which started in 2005 and has grown to feature more than 800 makers with nearly 110,000 people attending.
Credit Flickr / lemonkey

Inventors, practical science buffs, and “makers” of all kinds are invited to demonstrate their projects at an event called the Kalispell Mini Maker Faire.

The first Makers Faire happened in San Mateo, California in 2005. Now, it has featured more than 800-makers with nearly 110,000 attendees.

The World Maker Faire in New York has grown in three years to more than 500 makers with 55,000 attendees. 

Public Services Librarian April Szuch said the one planned for Kalispell will be much smaller, a Mini Maker Faire. She says it’s the first of its kind in Montana.

“We wanted to start one here in the Flathead to kind of spotlight the local makers and artisans, techies, crafters, hobbyists, inventors, anyone who likes to create something, or do-it-yourself, or any kind of project that they might be wanting to show off or demonstrate,” Szuch said.

The Flathead County Library System and Flathead Valley Community College are sponsoring the event. Szuch said they wanted to have the first in Montana, and the Flathead Valley is a good fit.

“Our valley is so inventive; there’s a lot of do-it-yourself people, there’s a lot of creative people making stuff out of bits and pieces,” Szuch said there will also be speakers talking about creating a small business to help makers see the steps from creating to selling.

It will also be an opportunity to meet with other makers, network, and share ideas.

“It could be a great way for them to sort of test their own invention and see, you know, does it work, does it make sense to other people, can I explain it in a way that other people get excited about?” Szuch said.

Szuch said FVCC has been doing more with entrepreneurship and has a fairly recent addition to their facility in its fabrication lab, and the library is venturing more into the hands-on realm itself. She said this spring they’re planning programs for things like; how to build a chicken coop, and bicycle repair.

“We’re really going to bust open the idea of libraries as quiet and just for books. Really want to make things more exciting, give people more opportunities for fun, creative, maker-type ideas of things to do in the library, and outside of the library,” Szuch said.

The Faire takes place February 22nd at FVCC and there’s no cost to sign up. Makers need to register by January 21st, and projects will be screened before being accepted. Sign up information is available through the website: www.kalispellminimakerfaire.com.