Maker Faire response to Ariel

You asked on Facebook:  Did you enjoy the Faire while you were there?

This question made me think about my experience outside the heart palpitation issue I was experiencing and to write down notes for next year’s show, which was my main objective.  That objective was to learn what possible booth I would have and how to set it up and staff it.  Not sure if you know but I’ve been to hundreds of conventions or fairs like Maker Faire all over the world.  They range from very corporate with huge stages and booths to reptile conventions on International Drive.

What I learned at the exhibitor orientation was that it is a loosey-goosy, all volunteer, grassroots fair.  The crowds appeared to be in the thousands like they promoted but their efficiency was diminished due to lack of adequate staffing for the food vendors that caused long, slow moving transactions.  For instance, the generic stand vendor next to the BBQ vendor had a single person take orders and deliver food.

My problem was I got there hungry and should have grabbed something to eat on the road before attending.  I waited in line at the pizza vendor for about 10 minutes and the line barely moved.  Then when I saw what they were serving, it looked like a whole pizza but that was only one person’s order that I saw.  I wasn’t sure if I could buy slices but by the time 10 minutes had passed, I deduced these were made-to-order pizzas and I’d probably would have to dump what I didn’t eat.

As you know there were large crowds gathered around different events so it was somewhat difficult to determine what was a line for food or other activities.  I then decided to try to see if there were other food vendors and that’s when I found the generic show food vendor and that the line was half as long as the BBQ place.

While I was standing in the generic food line, I was again reminded how obese the attendees are.  This is not a reflection on this show and I see it everywhere, especially at our local WalMart Neighborhood Market.  It’s not just that a majority of the people are overweight, it’s the massive sizes of some of these people that I would guess are four times the size in fat for their skeletons.  Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movie is a good example.

Anyway, that wasn’t anything new but I got my food about an hour after I got there.  I sat in the grass outside on the ground where the rapper stage was located and ate.  Average show food and giant soda cups.  That’s when the heart palpitations started.  I’ve always had them and am functional during their occurrences.  My mother also had them but they would debilitate her, sometimes for hours.  Mine have always been minor compared to hers but as I’ve aged, they’ve become on again, off again, longer.

I recently learned that air conditioning has a lot to do with them.  Once I figured that out, I stopped experiencing them on the road, especially in summer.  I don’t really like running the AC because I was born and raise here; however, I’d prefer not to have the irregular feeling of fibrillations.  I’ve even gone on hour long bike rides while having them and they lasted most of the ride.  But after a while, they get annoying and they make me irritable.  But that’s just backstory.

After I ate 2/3 my nachos with cheese and chili and drank 1/4 coke bucket, I dumped them on the way into the OPPORTUNITY BUILDING where my booth would have been located a few booths down from the soldering classes and Skycraft booth.  This was exactly why I wanted to visit the show this year, besides visiting with you (although I knew that would be limited due to your schedule).

What I learned for the first time was that I will have a wall behind the booth.  When I asked at orientation, they couldn’t guarantee anything.  I learned from this visit was that the wall behind the booth is where I can hang a curtain to store stuff behind the open area.  As well, I wasn’t sure how the booths adjoined each other and learned there’s an imaginary line between booths that can grow to cover others who don’t show, like me.  So now I can plan for the show next year and what to print and how to display.  I didn’t even know where and how my booth would be located and orientated until the day before the show.

That’s why I’m glad I canceled this year.  The morning before the show was an easy decision because there was absolutely no way I could have carried this off without looking unprofessional or like a goon (which was not uncommon there). 😉

Since our rover needs floor space and objects to navigate around, I wasn’t sure how to position things, where to stand, and how to present.  I am also glad I attended the show to learn how crowded and blocked the aisles are in that building.

So, if you made it this far, I hope this answers your question, although it’s probably TMI.  Again, this response is for my notes to review next year, should I be accepted.  I’m also glad I have a year to get ready (besides testing everything working together) because there are several other features I’d like to add, get enough stick time navigating the rover, and give it more intelligence and computer vision.  One friend suggested a body change that I’d really like to experiment with before a major show.

Thanks again for asking!

All the best,
Frank