By Alex Petroski
Creativity, innovation, exploration and a lot of fun are all on the docket for Port Jefferson’s Maritime Explorium this weekend. The Eastern Long Island Mini Maker Faire is slated to take place on June 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, at the Explorium, the neighboring Harborfront Park and all three floors of the Village Center.
Last year the Explorium hosted a Maker Festival that drew over 2,000 visitors after board members attended the New York City Maker Faire and gave it rave reviews. The Maker Movement has taken off worldwide, thanks to the efforts of Maker Media, the group behind the faires. This year the Maritime Explorium is being supported and sponsored as an official Maker Faire, albeit a miniaturized version of the ones typically found in big cities like Barcelona, Berlin and the Bay Area across the globe.
“[The Eastern Long Island Mini Maker Faire] totally fits in that [the Maritime Explorium has] a space there that encourages more participation from makers on Long Island, and it gives them somewhere to go; and then for people who are unfamiliar, it gives them a nice taste of it without having to go into the city,” said Stephanie Buffa, a volunteer board member at the Maritime Explorium in a phone interview this week.
Buffa said the spirit of the event is to remind attendees of all ages that they are capable of making incredible things with their hands. Makers bring their inventions, innovations, prototypes and experiments to not only show off to attendees but also to provide a hands-on experience to do it yourself and make your own.
“I think it’s imperative,” Buffa said about the importance of making. “Everything is at our fingertips. [These days] if you’re sitting at the dinner table and somebody asks a question you [just] Google it. It’s so easy to get answers that way and it’s also so easy when we buy our children something to buy that cool science kit. ‘Here it is, your seeds, your pot, your dirt, your shovel all in one. Let’s buy this and teach them how to garden.’ It’s so easy to get caught up in all of these pre-packaged things that we forget to sort of, do it yourself. You can be creative in so many ways. You don’t have to be a good artist and be able to draw beautiful pictures to be creative and to make things.”
The event will feature dozens of makers, performers, artists and exhibitors as well as a Future Makers Expo and Robotics Showcase presented by students.
Some of the makers attendees should expect to see include Charles Rufino of The Long Island Violin Shop who will be demonstrating how to make a violin while finished ones are put to use and representatives from Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences who will be demonstrating build-your-own catapults. “Yarn bombers” who crochet colorful covers for trees and columns of buildings like the Maritime Explorium will be present to teach the art of crocheting as well as interactive sculptures, a Technology Showcase, a guided Marine Biology Exploration and Meet-a-Scientist.
Other organizations involved with the day’s presentation include SBU’s College of Arts & Sciences, Stony Brook School of Medicine, InnovateLI, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Touro College School of Health Sciences, RINX Roller Skating on the Harbor and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council.
“It’s a little bit different from a high school or junior high school science fair because there’s more hands-on opportunities for people to actually participate and see how they can be a maker in whatever way themselves,” Buffa added. “It’s about participating and learning for all of the faire attendees, and getting a hands-on experience while they’re there.”
The Maritime Explorium is located at 101 E. Broadway in Port Jefferson. Tickets to attend the event are $17.50, though there are reduced family rates. For more information or to buy tickets visit www.easternlongislandmakerfaire.com.