Hand-carved Norwegian troll figures. A Star Wars fan dressed as Wookiee character who stood more than 7 feet tall in his 10-inch lifts. High-end virtual reality systems. Music played on a 1970s-era synthesizer like the one used in Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” People throwing clay pots.
All of this, and much more was part of the Corvallis Maker Fair, which was held for the sixth year Saturday on Oregon State University’s campus.
Charles Robinson, leader of the event’s organizing committee, said the event is intended to bring together a wide variety of people who craft things so people can have a chance to do hands-on learning. While many maker fair events are heavily focused on technology, Robinson said organizers of the Corvallis event strive to have a balance between technology and other methods of creating and crafting.
“We’re interested in creating things because it is valuable in and of itself, but it also brings people together,” said Robinson, who works in the dean’s office of the OSU College of Liberal Arts.
Robinson added that departments at OSU, the city of Corvallis, and the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library come together to put on the event.
Since the organizers have figured out a model for the event that works over the years, he said, the organizers have begun working with other communities to try to help them establish their own similar maker fairs.
He said the idea is that each community would have its own unique things to offer and by connecting to each other’s events everyone can learn more.
Stephanie Brandt, of Philomath, took her son and daughter to the event Saturday. She said she liked that it included a mix of activities.
“(My daughter) enjoys the arts. My son enjoys the computer stuff. It’s nice they have stuff for kids with both interests,” she said.
Rachel McAfee, a second-year mechanical engineering student, worked at the event at the OSU Overclocking Club. She helped attendees try virtual reality gaming.
McAfee said the club focuses on building powerful computers, and virtual reality is a great way to test how well their systems work because it demands a lot of processing power.
“It’s a great way to test out computers and it’s fun to demo,” she said. She added that she was surprised by how many people had experienced virtual reality before, considering it is an emerging technology.