We participated in our first Mini Maker Faire on November 16th, in our remote northern outpost of Rochester, New York. And people absolutely loved Black Rock Observatory!
We brought the 1:6 model of dome 2 to Rochester Riverside Convention Center to participate in the first ever Mini Maker Faire in Rochester on November 16 where hundreds of people oohed and ahhed over the beauty of the dome. Organizers estimated about 2,000 people in attendance and seriously, it seemed as if every one of them stopped by the booth to chat. It was non-stop smiles all day long!
Dennis Schinnell stopped by before the event opened and helped me (Pat Rapp) assemble the dome. With his sharp mind and knack for solving puzzles, he was as huge help. He ended up spending most of the day at our booth, chatting with people and sharing information about the Black Rock Observatory and the Mars Rover Art Car.
People fell completely in love with the observatory model. Small kids wanted to take it home. Adults wanted to visit the full scale dome. Everyone was in awe of Gregg Fleishman’s design and were completely blown away that the full size dome fit together exactly like the small one. We had a lot of kids asking what an observatory is for, which was great. I could feel their excitement. I heard parents and kids talking about planets and stars. One child said, “Can we get a telescope?” and her father said, “Yeah! Let’s do that!” It was wonderful to see the BRO be a gateway to learning. It sparked something that might otherwise not have come up for some families.
And families with little kids were not the only ones loving the BRO. We had tons of people checking it out, asking how it was built, and asking about Burning Man.
I gave a talk in the afternoon that I hope will encourage people to create their own science-based art. The gist of it was that people really want to engage with science, and building art can facilitate that connection. I also emphasized what I think is one of the great qualities of the Desert Wizards of Mars: everybody on the crew is equally valued, and that kind of leadership allows everyone to contribute their own unique skills. I also pointed out that sometimes the unexpected happens. Sometimes, in the middle of the biggest party on earth, people pull up their lawn chairs and watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. 🙂
Our booth was a busy place at Mini Maker Faire. The day flew by and was over in what seemed like minutes. You know you’ve struck a chord when you’ve been so swamped that you only managed to take three photos at a six hour event. Here’s the third one:
I can’t wait to do this again. Thanks, BRO!