When we last checked in with the Philadelphia Maker Faire in 2019, one couldn’t help but be impressed with what the organizers had pulled off with just a fraction of the budget and resources it took to put on the defunct World Maker Faire in New York. We came away absolutely certain the event was on the verge of explosive growth, and that next year would be even bigger and better.
But of course, that didn’t happen. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that by the time the 2020 Faire should have kicked off, the logistics of holding a gathering much larger than a family dinner had become a serious hurdle. Philadelphia implemented strict rules on indoor and outdoor events to try and contain the spread of the virus, to the point that even when they were relaxed in 2021, it still didn’t make sense to try and put on a Faire under those conditions.
Thankfully things are largely back to normal-ish now, and as such the Philadelphia Maker Faire had something of a rebirth this year. Organizers decided to move the event to the Independence Seaport Museum, with vendor and exhibitor tables distributed throughout the museum’s three floors. This made the ticket price a great two-for-one value, especially if you had enough time left over to head out to the docks so you could explore the 130-year-old cruiser USS Olympia, and the USS Becuna, one of the last surviving WWII Balao-class submarines.
As you’d expect, the event was packed with fascinating projects and demonstrations, to the point that trying to list them all here would be impossible. But for those who couldn’t make the trip out to see what the 2022 Philadelphia Maker Faire had to offer, let’s take a look at a handful of the standout exhibits.
For readers in the American Northeast that are looking for something to do this weekend, may we humbly suggest a day trip to attend the 2022 Philadelphia Maker Faire on Saturday, October 15th. After taking the last two years off due to COVID-19, the event has moved to the Independence Seaport Museum for its grand return, and is sure to attract plenty of hackers and makers who are eager to show off their pandemic projects.
Of course, the nature of these events is that you never really know what you’re going to see until you actually get there. But just browsing the list of confirmed projects that will have dedicated tables set up, we can tell there’s some very interesting stuff on tap — from fighting robots and hologram printers, to plasma physics and electric hydrofoils. While the deadline to submit projects for official inclusion has long since passed, we can tell you from experience that’s not going to stop folks from showing up with their own gadgets to show off to the captive audience. Especially if they’re of the wearable variety; it’s not really a Maker Faire unless somebody is wearing something that’s blinking.
Naturally the Faire itself is obviously the main event, but don’t forget that the Independence Seaport Museum itself is worth checking out while you’re there. You can tour the 130-year-old USS Olympia, as well as the USS Becuna, one of the last surviving WWII Balao-class submarines.
While the community might never truly recover from the loss of the flagship Maker Faires in New York and California, we do take some comfort in knowing that smaller regional shows like this one have been growing over the last few several years. They’re not only a great way to connect with like-minded folks in your area, but can help you connect with maker-friendly vendors and organizations which you might otherwise be unaware of.