August 6, 2011


Coke and Mentos Rocket Cars at Maker Faire Detroit 2011Maker Faire Detroit 2010 was fantastic (podcast 78). Others agreed. A fellow repeat attendee said the attendance goals for the two days were met by noon on the first day. That's easy to believe. That experience led great expectations for this year. We were disappointed.


The scale was larger this year. Favourites returned: the Lifesize Mousetrap and Coke & Mentos spectacle. Yet much was missing (or seemed to be). Last year, we saw more makers and presentations (or so it seemed). We attended both days since there was so much to experience.

This year, the large Anderson Theater and the smaller theatre in the Automotive Hall Of Fame sat vacant. Besides learning, a presentation lets you recharge in air-conditioned comfort. Since the temperatures stayed above 90F or 30C, that's very welcome. Last year, we spoke to more inventors. We got freebies like bags and stuff to fill them with: pens, pads, Altoids. The US Army had an engaging exhibit too.

No Big Deal

Theatrer Bizarre at Maker Faire Detroit 2011This time, there were many more vendors of products and food. That's not special. Inside hallways that used to be empty were filled with vendors too. The types you'd see at other fairs or flea markets or farmer markets. There's nothing wrong with that but we expected grander inventions than last year. Expectations grow.

There were more food choices, including local fave Buddy's Pizza. However, there was a ticket system ($10 for 5 tickets). That's workable but there were only two places to buy and dozens of places to spend. This created unnecessary line ups.

After a couple of hours we were done. We spent much of the day in Greenfield Village. As members of The Henry Ford, we got free admission.


The highlight? Race your own Coke & Mentos “car” (really a 2L Coke Zero bottle). Last year, we loved Eepy Bird’s Coke and Mentos show. We knew nothing about them in advance, which added to the experience. This time they performed on the front lawn of The Henry Ford. This meant everyone could sit down and see them for free. Some spots were shaded. Since the audience was so spread out, the experience was diluted. The show seemed shorter and there was only one performance per day, instead of two.

When you see fireworks, you anticipate the climax and can tell when it occurs. There's a feeling of completion. You leave satisfied. This time, the Eepy Bird finale didn't seem like a climax. What? Done already?

Also Missing

Some of the more interesting attendees were missing this year. Last year, the was a fellow with two Flip cameras mounted on a homemade monopod. There were hobbyists who made miniature metal cars. 

Worth Attending?

If you're near Detroit, you may enjoy a visit to Maker Faire. The $28 ticket included admission to The Henry Ford museum and parking was free for the weekend.

If you've already attended Maker Faire, you might want to wait several years before returning. That’s the drawback of the inaugural edition being so good.


Podcast 129 (4:12)

direct download | Internet Archive | iTunes

PS If you attended Maker Faire, what did you think?

No comments: