Haynes Apperson Fest Saturday

Festival-goers explore the food and rides in Foster Park during the Haynes Apperson Festival on Saturday, July 1, 2017. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

The annual Haynes Apperson Festival is a celebration of Kokomo’s automotive innovators, Elwood Haynes and brothers Elmer and Edgar Apperson. Every year, the event features live music, food and free fun for families.

But this year, the festival will return to its innovative roots with the addition of the Maker City Fair.

Back in September 2017, Mayor Greg Goodnight declared Kokomo as Indiana’s first Maker City at the grand opening of the new SHAK Makerspace.

SHAK Makerspace first opened in February 2016, inside a former bread-distribution building at 2538 N. Washington St., and offered an array of specialized tools and access to experts in skills like metal and woodworking, sewing, 3-D printing and computer programming. It has since moved to a new facility at 210 W. Monroe St.

Nan Braun, SHAK Makerspace co-founder and board president, attended her first Maker Faire in 2010 in Detroit.

“It was an amazing experience and my first reaction to it was, ‘This fits the culture of Kokomo so perfectly, we really need to have this here,’” Braun said.

Maker Faire, created by Maker Media, was launched in the Bay Area in 2006, and has become an all-ages event for tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors, its website stated. There are Maker Faires held all across the globe, with the most recent one taking place in Berlin, Germany, this past weekend.

"It’s an opportunity to get hands-on with new technology and tools. Makers love to share their clever and fascinating projects along with their know-how,” said Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Faire. “More importantly, at Maker Faire we get to experience maker culture  —  its joy, enthusiasm, generosity and optimism."

For five years, Braun helped organizers put on a regional Maker Faire in Fort Wayne. She and her husband also traveled to other local fairs throughout the state as makers and observers. Then last December, after discussions with the Haynes Apperson board, the Maker City Fair was approved.

SHAK Makerspace partnered with the festival specifically in hopes of raising awareness about what a Maker Faire is all about.

“Part of the struggle of getting a Maker Faire started here is that people haven’t been exposed to it and didn’t know what is was,” Braun said.

At this year’s Maker City Fair, Braun said there will be tons of interactive booths with activities for adults and children alike. There will be a Kid's Zone, Power Wheels racing demonstrations throughout the weekend, and several local organizations featured like AndyMark robotics and Kokomo-Howard County Public Library programming.

“We’ve got some other interesting makers that have applied with woodworking and wood-turning, to sculpture, to high tech, to art making,” Braun said. “Our goal is to have as many as the maker booths be as hands-on or interactive as possible. This is not a walk-around-pick-up-some-pamphlets kind of thing.”

The Maker City Fair will take place across the street from Foster Park in the 500 block of W. Superior St., as well as inside Sol House, located at 602 W. Superior St. It will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. on June 28, 12 to 8 p.m. on June 29, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 30.

There’s still a chance for makers to sign-up to show their projects or activities, and it can be from as simple to a structure made out of PVC pipe to an elaborate machine, Braun said. The list of makers will be finalized on June 3, so to sign up, visit https://bit.ly/MakerCityCall.

Those interested in volunteering with the Maker City Fair may also sign up at www.shakmakerspace.com/Maker-City-Fair.

“For a decade, people have been sharing their ideas and innovations with people, and we’re just beyond excited to bring the first taste of that experience to Kokomo,” Braun said.

Haley Church can be reached at 765-454-8580, haley.church@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @HaleyDrewChurch.

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