Home Entertainment 4th Annual Southwest Maker Fest invades downtown Mesa this weekend

4th Annual Southwest Maker Fest invades downtown Mesa this weekend

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The Fourth Annual Southwest Maker Fest will bring more than 100 exhibitors, presentations and workshops to downtown Mesa this Saturday, March 11 from noon to 7 p.m. (Submitted photo)

The Fourth Annual Southwest Maker Fest (SWMF) will bring more than 100 exhibitors, presentations and workshops to downtown Mesa on March 11.

The free festival engages visitors in exploring all kinds of hands-on creation and ideas, from art and technology to food and DIY projects. From noon to 7 p.m. exhibits, demonstrations, community art projects, opportunities to meet makers and to try your hand at new things, and fun learning experiences will fill the festival, which is located on Macdonald and Pepper streets just north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. The i.d.e.a. Museum is open free to the public throughout the festival. Details and opportunities to volunteer can be found at: SouthwestMakerFest.com.

This collaborative one-day festival and community of makers is seeking to achieve the vision of a connected community, empowered by creativity. SWMF’s mission is to celebrate, engage, and inspire the maker in each of us. The fourth annual festival is easily reachable from the Center Street or Country Club stops on Valley Metro Light Rail, and there is plenty of free parking nearby.

This year, SWMF is adding a new feature area specifically designed to support Arizona’s educational community and inform education advocates. N-Compass Village is intended to showcase how integrating creative experiences into the school curriculum can increase engagement, enhance active, student-centered discovery and deepen learning. N-Compass Village is a place where all can experience hands-on making, integrated with a variety of subject areas taught in our local educational systems. Located in the Atrium at i.d.e.a. Museum, it offers exhibits and presentations of interest to the entire community.

Southwest Maker Fest celebrates the uniquely human power of creativity and invention, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Visit SWMF to experience, learn, play and shop. Exhibitors in 2017 include 3-D printing, rocketry, storytelling, bicycle repairing, sound sculptures, LEGO activities and more. Special festival “zones” are devoted to arts and sustainability, the Tech and Industry Village and N-Compass Village. A Makers Marketplace will feature makers selling their handmade creations, and a food court will offer both food trucks and food exhibitors.

The all-volunteer organization has engendered tremendous energy and excitement about building an inclusive and highly creative regional event, with exhibitors from across the Valley. Last year’s event welcomed 5,500 visitors. SWMF has actively recruited exhibitors who offer demonstrations and hands-on learning, and presenters willing to share exciting stories, artistry, inventions or extraordinary journeys. SWMF 2017 is designed to stimulate curiosity and inspire the maker inside each visitor.

The “maker” movement is booming in the U.S., with very large events held annually in New York, the Bay Area, and numerous other major metropolitan areas. Southwest Maker Fest celebrates makers, innovation and creativity, and builds upon the growing Do-It-Yourself movement and a thirst for active experiences. Organizers have developed SWMF to build on our state’s strength as a fertile location for new ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.

Southwest Maker Fest is once again a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival. The event is being held under the auspices of Ultimate Imagination Inc., the 501(c)3 non-profit arm of the Downtown Mesa Association. Event sponsors include Intel, Stax 3D, Mesa Recycles, K’é—A Place to Grow Small Business, The Collaboratory, i.d.e.a. Museum, Mesa Arts Center and Downtown Mesa Association.

Event details and volunteer sign-up is available at the event website: SouthwestMakerFest.com.

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