As part of our preparations for Maker Faire Orlando 2016, we are introducing a number of new concepts in how we work with our Community Partners. We are holding open meetings at a number of community locations (FamiLAB Open House on 3/1, and Tampa Hackerspace Open Make Night on 3/8 have been scheduled so far) – and we want to openly share (this post) how we work with community partners in an effort to involve even more community groups in Maker Faire. You are welcome to connect with us one of the scheduled meetings, or have us speak to your group, or discuss any of this directly – just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is an overview of the content that we will sharing in our community discussions, and we will update it as we do Q&A with each group.
The Maker Faire Orlando team is visiting San Francisco this weekend for the first-ever Maker Faire Producers’ Summit. With over 100 producers attending from over a dozen countries, we are excited to share, learn, and make some new friends. We are also looking forward to hearing from the Maker Media team about the worldwide growth of Maker Faire – and the new tools and resources they are creating to help our community-produced events grow and thrive.
Community Maker Faire Marketing Workshop
Jessica King, our Executive Producer, will be leading a session on marketing for community-based Maker Faire events. We’ve even brought our friend Professor Hans Von Puppet along to help open the session.
Jessica also created a sharable community marketing checklist that illustrates how we have learned and grown over the last 4 years – and we are excited to add the ideas that we gather from other Maker Faire producers.
We are excited to announce that Maker Faire Orlando will return for our 5th annual event on October 22nd & 23rd, 2016. When we started this event as a Mini Maker Faire in 2012, we could not have imagined that just a few years later we’d be hosting a weekend-long event with over 15k participants. Each year we work to improve the event based on your feedback, and for 2016 we have some BIG changes planned.
- New Date – We are moving the event to late October for cooler, dryer weather (hopefully!). This new date also gives educators more time to work with their new students so they can exhibit at Maker Faire.
- Location – We will be returning to the Central Florida Expo Park (Fairgrounds) – we’ve already reserved the entire facility – including all the expo space (4 buildings) and a 50k sq. ft. covered pavilion. We know parking has been a challenge the last few years – with 8k parking spaces on-site at the fairgrounds, we won’t need offsite parking for Makers or attendees!
- More Space for Each Maker – With more space and larger, open-plan buildings, we are targeting 10×10 foot (or larger) spaces for Makers. We also plan to create themed areas for Maker groups to connect and work together to create an awesome exhibit area – with workshops by those makers in the same area.
- Lower Ticket Price – We will be decreasing ticket prices – AND creating sponsorship options to provide tickets to local schools.
- Event Proceeds – The event proceeds will now directly benefit the Maker community as part of the mission of The Maker Effect Foundation.
While the Orlando Science Center building will no longer be the event venue, the Orlando Science Center organization is a valued community partner. The OSC team is awesome – they have embraced the event and the maker community as part of their mission to “Inspire Science Learning for Life”, and we look forward to including the OSC team, and OSC members in Maker Faire Orlando for many years.
Stay tuned as we work with our Makers and Community Partners to produce a very exciting 5th Anniversary event! We hope you will continue to be part of the event – and we will need your support to make it great. If you want to get involved, email us at email@example.com and we will find a great role for you!
On behalf of The Maker Effect Foundation,
Jessica, Candy, Ian, Dave & Ann.
The Maker Effect Foundation produces Maker Faire Orlando, and we will readily admit that we are data nerds. One of the benefits of producing Maker Faire is that we get to learn – a lot. We try new tools, new marketing techniques, and get to measure the results in realtime. We use our analytics to compete with ourselves (year-over-year results) – and to gauge the performance of marketing efforts so that we know what to do more of next year, and well NOT do next year!
We invested significant time in MakerFaireOrlando.com this year to give each Exhibit and Maker their own page as well as to make sure that it was all social sharable – and were very interested to see how the site performed in the weeks leading up to the event, and on the days of the event.
Here are some of the early results – we hope they help others producing Maker Faire events (or any event) – we’d love your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org – we will find the answers to your questions (if we have them!) and update this post as we do more analysis.
We are setup and ready for a great Maker Faire Orlando weekend!
Tips: Plan ahead for parking, get tickets in advance to avoid the lines, check the schedule, get the apps, and start your day at our newest location, the Orlando Museum of Art (you can start at OMA, even if you don’t have your tickets yet)!