Celebrate Innovation at the NoVa MiniMaker Faire on March 15, 2015

With this area’s large assortment of tech companies, it’s no wonder that Northern Virginia is home to lots of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Hidden inside many of these office buildings and homes are brilliant creations made by local innovators, both professional and amateur. This Sunday, March 15, 2015, is a day for the public to see some of their projects, as the second annual NoVa Mini Maker Faire returns to Reston.

The Maker Faire is a showcase of invention and creativity, where people display items they’ve made and share what they’ve learned. It’s a celebration of the Maker movement, a tech-influenced DIY community inspired by MAKE MagazineMAKE educates a growing community of resourceful people who undertake projects in their backyards and basements. Makers include tech enthusiasts, scientists, and crafters of all ages. A series of Maker Faires have developed to connect members of this community and the public, including the World Maker Fair in New York, and several smaller ones around the world. Reston is proud to host the Faire for the NoVa community.

The Faire will take place on March 15, 2015 from 10am to 5 pm at Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia. It is a family-friendly event, with lots of hands-on activities for kids and adults.


The GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math & Science) Take Apart Zone (photo credit: Carl Hutzler)

Interactive displays will cover a wide array of topics. Highlights include:

  • The Chaos Machine: a large marble machine that can be modified by participants.
  • Nerdy Derby: a no-rules miniature car building and racing competition.
  • Catapults and Ballistas: tools to help you explore trajectory, torsion, torque, and force.
  • KEVA Planks: addictive small building blocks to build and explore with – fun for children and adults.
  • GEMS Take Apart Zone: machines you can disassemble to explore how things work.
  • Demo-Vation with UpCycle Creative Reuse Center: create something new out of discarded elements from the GEM Take Apart Zone.


Drone from DC Area Drone Group (photo credit: DC Area Drone Group)

In a booth called Top Drones, presented by Nova Labs, you can fly a drone from RhinoHawk, to be used to counter poaching in South Africa.

At 11:30am, Chris Vo, Chief Scientist at Sentien Robotics and President of the DC Area Drone User Group, will give a presentation called, “Drones: Our Toys, Tools, and Aerial Robotic Companions.”


Paddleboarders playing lacrosse with PadLPolo (photo credit: Modern Reston)

At 12:00pm, Steve Gurney, a certified paddleboard instructor with Surf Reston, will present his new invention, PadLPolo. He has used 3D printers to create paddles that double as lacrosse sticks. This new sport will likely become the hottest trend on Reston lakes this summer.


Solutions for special needs by Jennifer Gluck, Maker and Speaker (photo credit: Jennifer Gluck)

At 2:30pm, Jennifer Gluck will present adaptive equipment for special needs children. Jennifer Gluck is an engineer who builds functional solutions for children with special needs. Motivated by the needs of her own son with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, she has built a variety of assistive equipment, including PVC walkers, swimming platforms, changing table platforms, and goofy golf scooters.


Blacksmithing demonstration (photo credit: Everest Gromoll)

There is so much more scheduled for this event!

For a full list of presentations and speaker bios, refer to the NoVa Mini Maker Faire schedule.

For more information about projects on display, refer to this list of Makers.

For information about how navigate the Faire, refer to this map.

Food will be available for sale on site by area food trucks including: Doug the Food Dude, Fava Pot, Hardy BBQ, Mama’s Donut Bites and Tasty Kabob.


LEFT: Children building with KEVA Planks. Over 10,000 KEVA Planks will be available for building during the Faire. (photo credit: Ken Scheel, KEVA Planks) RIGHT: Vicki Somma, winner 2014 White House 3D Printed Design Challenge, will present “3D Printing Without a Printer” (photo credit: Vicki Somma)

Advance tickets are available online now. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children through March 14, 2015. Tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $8 for children.

NoVa Mini Maker Faire is independently organized by Nova Labs and is operated under license from Maker Media, Inc. Nova Labs is a community-based Makerspace in Reston, Virginia created in 2011 for the purpose of empowering everyone to rediscover the joy of making things. Nova Labs’ mission is to provide a community workshop where people can learn, teach, and collaborate on creative and technical works and to promote the usefulness of competence in the technical arts. “All kids — and adults — need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers,” says Brian Jacoby, president of Nova Labs. “The Mini Maker Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds, and helping them to become critical thinkers.”