Monday, May 16, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
- Get your tickets early. This isn't an issue if you're an exhibitor, but if you have friends or family who will be arriving separately, the Early Bird discount is the best deal, and it ends at midnight today! Here's the link for all ticketing for the Bay Area Maker Faire 2011: Maker Faire Tickets (click on "Online Advance Purchase Ticket Pricing" to get the Early Bird deal before it expires).
- If you can only attend one day, Saturday is better than Sunday. News photos and video shot Saturday often attract a bigger crowd on Sunday. Makers and their booths are fresher on Saturday, too. It's not uncommon for supplies to run low, or even out, as the weekend progresses.
- Avoid parking at the fairgrounds if at all possible. Parking is a steep $17, no matter how long you are there (there is no re-entry). You can look at other options on this map, or use the hotel shuttles. Another option is to ride your bike and take advantage of the free bike valet parking.
- Plan your day. The speaker and workshop schedule is packed, so mark those you really want to hear, then get your bearings with the map. It's fun to just wander and look at everything, but try to catch a lecture, a workshop, or a demo—you'll likely learn something new and interesting.
- Bring snacks and water, and arrive as early in the day as you can. There is food for sale, but lines get long around lunchtime and don't really let up.
- A backpack for carrying all the goodies you'll end up with is useful.
- Get a wristband as soon as you enter, from the information booth by the gate. The wristband allows you to ride any of the rides, such as the Cyclecide, and also allows you re-entry if you need to leave for any reason.
- If you have children, show them the yellow-jacketed security guards and let them know they can ask them for help if they are lost. (Yes, we got this tip through first-hand experience one year!)
- Bring something home with you. Whether at the Maker Shed, the exhibitor booths or the Bizarre Bazaar, great items sell out. Last year the credit-card sized lockpicking set was unavailable after the first day. But it's not just about scarcity. We picked up a pack of sugru last year, and in 12 months it has completely altered our thinking about repair and modification.
- Make sure you enjoy the experience. This seems an odd thing to have to mention, but the Maker Faire can be crowded and confusing; it's noisy and there are lines for everything. It's likely you won't be able to do and see everything of interest, so let go a little and take time to sit on the lawn, listen to music, people watch and chat with your fellow faire-goers.