Countdown to blastoff at Maker Faire Austin!

The songwriters are strumming, the fire dancers are flaming, and the robots are . . . gardening? Maker Faire Austin is back, and this year it’s filling the entire Palmer Events Center with amazing demonstrations, performances, and workshops that are the very definition of “family friendly.”

Read on (or scroll down, if you can’t resist) to enter our drawing for a free family pack of Maker Faire Austin passes!

The Maker Faire happens Saturday and Sunday, May 7–8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year more than 200 creative engineers, artists, crafters, and builders from all over Texas will meet up to share their passions. A blacksmith will make swords on site and explain how it’s done. You can paint with LED light on a 30-foot wall, and then watch a robot drumline!

Kami Wilt, the Faire’s producer and chief evangelist, says she is expecting more than 12,000 visitors to the Faire in May. “I’m especially excited that for the first time we have a huge darkened hall as part of the venue. There we’ll have lots of interactive light exhibits. We’re really blowing the roof off the place this year. We’re not a ‘mini’ Faire anymore!”

Kami recommends taking a look at each day’s options on the website and planning so that everyone in the family can spend time doing what they love. “But also leave some time to just wander and explore,” she says. “Don’t over-prepare. You’ll walk in and be swept away by the sea of exciting stuff to see and do.” Families can buy passes for one or both days, which will allow them to go in and out at their own pace.

The best thing about the Maker Faire experience, Kami explains, is that it gives parents and kids a chance to get caught up and involved in the same activities and sense of wonder. “We see whole families intensely engaged—and parents rarely want to sit on the sidelines.”

This video will give you a little preview of what’s in store.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help with the Faire, there are slots available. Your volunteer job comes with a free t-shirt and admission. And if you’re a maker, there’s still time to sign up to show your stuff! The maker application deadline has been extended through April 7.

Please join us to share the maker experience, and set your imagination free.

Lots more information is available on the website. Or you can follow the happenings on Facebook: Maker Faire Austin; Instagram: @makerfaireaustin; and Twitter: @atxmakerfaire.

And here's your chance to win free tickets! We're giving away a family pack that includes two adult passes and two child passes, good for either day of the Faire. Enter our random drawing below, using the method(s) of your choice. And if you are not the lucky winner, you can buy advance tickets right here. Good luck!

UPDATE (4/5/2016): Congratulations to Sara, who won our family passes to Maker Faire Austin! And thanks to everyone who entered. We hope you’ll still be able to make it to the Faire. We can’t wait!

Shelley Sperry, staff writer