Maker Fair MN is a great way to meet local makers and also a great way to get inspired.
We recently caught up with Kara Van Sickle, Planning Coordinator for Maker Fair MN, a handcrafted artisan event held in Garden City, MN. Kara, along with Karen Dirkx and Sarah Dirkx, coordinate all of the planning for Maker Fair MN. From goodie bag stuffing to website designing, they do it all (and enjoy doing it)!
Now coming into its fifth year, Maker Fair MN was started in 2012 by Sara Krosch. She recognized a need for local makers to sell their goods and decided to create a platform for such an event. Kara shares, "Sara has been a big part of the maker movement in Southern MN and the community has responded so well by attending and supporting Maker Fair MN over the years."
In its five years of being one of the best maker marketplaces in Southern Minnesota, Kara and the Maker Fair MN crew have seen incredible growth on both sides of the table. Over the years, additional activities have been added like Make & Take Activities for shoppers, Live Music, Kid's Crafts, and a Pie Baking Contest. "Not only is Maker Fair MN about seeing local makers and their crafts but it also encourages shoppers to participate and get crafty as well." She adds, "The first year there were about 20 vendors and each year the event has grown. This year we have 140 vendors! The event now fills 6 buildings, and much for the grounds at the Blue Earth County Fairgrounds in Garden City, MN."
So, who sells their work at Maker Fair MN? Kara shares that many makers return every year, bringing their tried and true creations as well as new ones. And as the event grows, the event also attracts new makers. Kara adds, "You never know what you will find at the event.... a new fall wreath, a soft knitted blanket for a new baby, or a locally canned salsa you now can't live with out!"
Ultimately, this fair is all about working to sustain and enhance the community's artistic and economic vibrancy. All of the vendors are selling their handmade items, items that Kara believes are original works of art. Kara offers, "Maker Fair MN is all about the maker and providing an opportunity for an individual to showcase their talents and handmade goods. Many of our vendors only participate in this event; they aren't professional makers - they have other full time jobs. They have a craft and skill that they enjoy outside of work. Maker Fair MN gives them the opportunity to share their talents with the community."
So, we asked Kara about who comes to Maker Fair MN and why new people should come by to check out this great event. "While our attendance was close to 2400 shoppers last year, there are still some people who haven't attended or heard of Maker Fair MN yet, we can't believe it! They're really missing out," she begins. "This year we have added an additional shopping hour and the event will run from 9am - 4pm. In addition to the first 50 adult shoppers receiving goodie bags full of vendor goodies we have added kid's goodie bags to be dispersed in the afternoon and a kid's horseshoe hunt. Live Music at 1pm by Billy & the Bangers will add a festive fall vibe to the event."
Beyond the brilliant work of Minnesota makers, the food, beverages, and entertainment is a big part of the event. From food trucks to onion rings to kettle corn and more, Maker Fair MN is firing on all cylinders to put on an exceptional artisan fall market in Minnesota!
Learn more about attending Maker Fair MN on October 8th, the makers involved, and more at the Maker Fair MN site.