A HowToon by Nick Dragotta and Saul Griffith

I went to the first Maker Faire in San Mateo in 2006 and was both delighted and overwhelmed by the creativity, ingenuity and plain oddness of so much that was on display. So I was eager to return in subsequent years, family in tow. All that genius and oddity is still there, but it’s swamped in the hordes of people that flock to the Faire. Success has a price.

On October 24 you’ll have a chance to dip your toes into a more intimate version at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire at Park Day School in Oakland (disclosure: I’m chair of the board at Park Day, and the event will raise funds for the school). There are a number of extraordinary Berkeley “makers” at the Mini Maker Faire, along with plenty from Oakland and further afield.

Leading the Berkeley makers is author Michael Chabon who is working with Nick Dragotta of HowToons (self-described as “the world’s greatest DIY comic website”) to run a workshop on making comics. From the workshop description:

You and your kids will get to see Michael develop a story and Nick illustrate it in real time, and then your kids will get to do the same with help from both these inspiring creators.  You’ll develop a character and learn how to tell that story using the tools of the graphic medium.

Also from Berkeley will be Hoop Power with custom-made hula hoops for all ages and abilities, the Dale Family Farm with its hand-cranked seed oil press (as detailed on Berkeleyside) showing how to make your own oil at home, and Tom Sepe with his Whirligig Emoto, a steampunk motorcycle. The organizers are also working on getting Berkeley stealth start-up Stupid Fun Club to do a demonstration of just what they’re working on in West Berkeley (I defy you to figure it out from the website).

The Mini Maker Faire runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 24. Earlybird tickets (through tomorrow) are $7.50 for under-18s and full-time students and $10 for adults. Prices then go up to $10 and $15, before going up again on the day to $15 and $20. Berkeleyside readers can buy tickets for a 15% discount by entering the discount code “berkeleyside” on the ticketing website.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...