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It's starting to become an annual affair -- the Mini Maker Faire, at OMSI on SE Water Street

DAVID F. ASHTON - Here building an electronic circuit together are Brentwood-Darlington residents (and family members) Thomas Schoenborn, and budding engineer Laurel.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) – on the east bank of the Willamette River just north of the Ross Island Bridge – closed off its north parking lot as it hosted its seventh annual "Portland Mini Maker Faire", a family-friendly showcase of sometimes-peculiar creativity and fascinating technology for two days, September 15 and 16.

"Maker Faire is at the heart of what makes Portland unique; that is, it's a gathering of out-of-the-ordinary, inquisitive folks who enjoy learning and then sharing what they can do," smiled OMSI Interim Events Manager Melony Beaird, as visitors swirled around, visiting one exhibit after another.

"Our visitors will find exhibiting here craft enthusiasts, artists, and engineers – part of what's called the 'Maker movement' – who enjoy showing off their 'passion projects', and like to help others learn how to experiment," Beaird told THE BEE.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Word has it that Giant Spider-Man lives in Sellwood at Tom Dwyer Automotive, when not on display at fairs. Exhibitors were showing off their robots, 3-D printers, and a lightning simulator. "But, most-popular are the hands-on activities. Here, you can learn how to embroider, make electric circuits, or go very low-tech and learn how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together," observed Beaird.

Along the rows of canopies were 125 exhibitors, featuring 140 makers – explaining their exhibits, and giving talks, demonstrations, and performances bridging many fields – arts, crafts, science, engineering, and even pirate life!

"Our 'Maker Faire' fulfills the mission of OMSI because it gets people learning about, and working at, do-it-yourself projects and new technologies – while interesting them in STEM education," Beaird explained.

For those wondering about the legality of OMSI using the Maker name: "The Portland Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.," acknowledged Beaird. So, yes, it's legal.

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