CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership is sponsoring the 4th Annual Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, October 6 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The faire is a celebration of creating, making, innovating, engineering, designing, and connecting.

Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire
More than 1,000 people attended last year's Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire.

But for a young girl or boy visiting the faire for the first time, it could be much more.

It could spark an interest that leads to a successful career in engineering, advanced manufacturing, or any profession that involves an active imagination and creative hands.

What sets this year's faire apart from earlier versions is that it will be held in downtown Hartford at Connecticut's Old State House on Main Street.

Makers will have displays in and around the Old State House for this family friendly event that annually draws more than 1,000 people.

"One of the most notable historic landmarks in Connecticut, the Old State House is the perfect location for the Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire," said Andréa Comer, the partnership's vice president of workforce strategies.

Manufacturing Spotlight

The partnership makes connections among vocational high schools, community colleges, universities, and employers to help fill the talent pipeline.

"In addition to hosting fascinating exhibits that highlight the state's history, it also features manufacturing in Connecticut, which aligns perfectly with our maker faire goals.

"Makers are key because manufacturing and innovation are so important to our state."

With dozens of fun, interactive displays, the faire is always a great draw for children and families.

It's why, Comer said, maker faires are considered "the Greatest Show—and Tell—on Earth."

"Makers come to show their creations and share their knowledge, while attendees come for a peek into the future, an opportunity to learn more about STEM, and perhaps pursue a career in manufacturing," she said.

Promoting STEM Careers

STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—play major roles in the Maker Faire and in Connecticut's surging manufacturing sector, where the average annual salary is $95,000.

Among the people helping to staff this year's faire will be student interns from Hartford Public High School's Academy of Engineering and Green Technology.

The interns will assist with coordinating the Maker Faire and provide on-site support the day of the event.

Maker faires are considered the Greatest Show—and Tell—on Earth.
The internships were made possible through a grant from the Gawlicki Family Foundation.

Not every student wants or intends to go to college.

The hope is that by exposing children to inventors and creators at a maker faire, it could show them—and their parents—that manufacturing is a viable and well-paying career choice.

Family Friendly

While that is the faire's ultimate goal, the fact remains that is a place where attendees—especially children—have a lot of fun.

Displays at last year's event included mini-drone racing, virtual-reality video games, soda-bottle rockets, a solar-charged bicycle, robotics, laser engraving, 3D printers, and building computers.

"The Maker Faire is designed to pique the curiosities of people of all ages—especially children," Comer said.

"By showing the creativity of making, faires increase interest in manufacturing.

"Similarly, the Education & Workforce Partnership seeks to close the talent gap between our future workforce and employers, particularly manufacturing companies, which have an ongoing need for workers."

The Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire is free for the public, but please register in advance.