I got this via e-mail yesterday:
If You MAKE It, They Will Come–O’Reilly Media Alert:
Maker Faire attracts an incredible 65,000 attendees
Sebastopol, CAâ€”Earlier this month, an astonishing 65,000 people from all across the country (and beyond) came to the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate the worldâ€™s premier event for DIY (Do It Yourself) creativityâ€”Maker Faire! Organized by Make Magazine and Craft Magazine, Maker Faire celebrates things people create themselvesâ€”from electronic gizmos that would make James Bond jealous, to â€œslow madeâ€ foods and homemade clothes that would make Martha Stewart swoon.
The next Maker Faire will take place October 18 & 19 at the Travis County Fairgrounds in Austin, TX. In 2009, Maker Faire may expand to even more locations. â€œMakers are everywhere, in every city across America and the world,â€ explained Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Faire. â€œWe want to tap into these communities, to showcase what people are making, and, in the end, to encourage and inspire even more people to become Makers.â€
While still the ultimate playground for hackers and geeks, Maker Faire is bringing the inventive and fascinating world of DIY into the mainstream. â€œWeâ€™re amazed at how fast this has grown,â€ said Event Director Sherry Huss. â€œMaker Faire has clearly struck a nerve in American culture. Weâ€™re reaching 7 year olds, 70 year olds, and everyone in between.â€
The figure of 65,000 attendees especially resonated with me as I just got back from attending Dayton, where attendance was down and the number of vendors—both outside and inside—was down. We can all blame it on the economy and gas prices, but if these guys can attract 65,000 people under the same conditions, I don’t think that argument holds much water.
What is it then? One thing that comes to mind is moving the Hamvention somewhere cooler, say Austin, TX. Being a long-time ham, I’ve always thought of Dayton as the Mecca of ham radio. Younger and newer hams probably don’t feel that way. I’d bet some are thinking, “Dayton? Are they kidding”?
Another thing someone (the ARRL, perhaps?) might consider is somehow latching on to the Maker Faire. The people that attend the Maker Faire are exactly the kind of people that we want in ham radio, and I’d bet that a bunch of them would be inclined to become ham radio operators if given the chance. This is something I plan to look into.