Louisville expecting 10,000 attendees for city’s first Maker Faire at UofL in September

Students from duPont Manual High School showcase projects at FirstBuild. The work ranged from gear toys to toy cars operated by mouse traps. | Photo by Jeremy Chisenhall

The global artistry, engineering and science showcase known as Maker Faire will come to Louisville this fall, FirstBuild announced in a joint news conference with the University of Louisville on Monday at its microfactory near campus.

University of Louisville President Neeli Benapudi kicked off the news conference by making the announcement. The two-day fair, called “Louisville MAKES,” will be held on UofL’s campus Sept. 28 and 29. It will feature artists, scientists and crafters who will show their hobbies, experiments and projects, organizers said.

Louisville will join approximately 40 other cities worldwide, including San Diego, Tokyo and Rome, to host a Maker Faire as officials look to highlight the city’s budding tech sector and thriving art scene, according to the announcement.

“We’ve had the maker fair on Main Street that typically draws three to 5,000 people, but with this fair coming up on the 28th and 29th, we are looking to blow all of this out of the water with 10,000-plus folks here, kind of taking over the city,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.

“A friendly takeover of the city, an innovation takeover in Louisville that really forces the world to look at what’s happening in our city and say ‘what is going on in Louisville, Kentucky?’ ” Fischer said.

Students from Jefferson County Public Schools were in attendance at the announcement to showcase creations they had made, as were other engineers and artists. Fischer and Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio wanted to put an emphasis on student innovation for the fair.

“Our kids in JCPS are getting these incredible opportunities to be innovators,” Pollio said. “And what that means is to apply what you learn on a regular basis, to take your learning outside of the classroom. I have been blown away by some of the things I’ve seen our students do over the course of the past year, and how it’s impacting the community.”

Projects on display ranged from woodworking products to robots to Theremin instruments.

“Innovation is an incredible brand to have,” Fischer said. “Certainly for a city, certainly for a university, but for our students here, I want you to think about what your personal brand is. And if you’re here today, innovation is a big part of your personal brand.”

UofL and FirstBuild, the co-creation community backed by GE Appliances, are sponsors of the showcase, which is described as “the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth — a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness” on the Maker Faire’s website. GE Appliances is also a sponsor.

“Having this event open, and gathering all the diverse, creative minds in this community will be amazing, and most of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said GE Appliances CEO Kevin Nolan.

Check out additional scenes from the announcement below.