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As part of our preparations for Maker Faire Orlando 2016, we are introducing a number of new concepts in how we work with our Community Partners. We are holding open meetings at a number of community locations (FamiLAB Open House on 3/1, and Tampa Hackerspace Open Make Night on 3/8 have been scheduled so far) – and we want to openly share (this post) how we work with community partners in an effort to involve even more community groups in Maker Faire. You are welcome to connect with us one of the scheduled meetings, or have us speak to your group, or discuss any of this directly – just email us at producers@makerfaireorlando.com.

The following is an overview of the content that we will sharing in our community discussions, and we will update it as we do Q&A with each group.

Existing Communicated Changes for 2016:

  • Venue Change – Due to our growth, we are moving the event to the Central Florida Fairgrounds, where we have rented the entire facility including 4 air-conditioned buildings (>60,000 square feet total), and a covered pavilion (50,000 square feet), and large open outdoor spaces.
  • Date Change – We’ve moved the event to late October. This should lead to cooler, drier weather – and provides teachers and students more time to work on their projects during a new school year / semester.
  • Parking improvement – The Fairgrounds has parking capacity for 8,000 cars!
  • The Orlando Science Center will no longer be hosting the event, but will remain as a community partner, and we are excited to see their maker spirit at the event!
  • The proceeds of the event now benefit The Maker Effect Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational charity located in Orlando, Florida which directly supports the local maker community.

Current Planning (and we’d like your input!) – none of this is final

  • Villages – We are looking to provide community groups larger spaces for “birds of a feather” villages. For those groups that are interested in working together with other local makers to create larger interactive spaces, we want to provide the space and other resources required to make it happen.
  • Lower ticket costs – We are working to keep our ticket cost as low as possible, and to simplify ticket pricing. This will help keep the event accessible, and to increase overall attendee counts.
  • 2-day tickets with a benefit to Community Partners that are 501(c)(3) organizations – we are proposing a model where the purchaser of a two day ticket can select a Community Partner to receive (~$4) a donation from their ticket purchase. This is a win-win-win as the ticket purchaser get a reasonably priced upgrade to a two day ticket, the community partners receive funding in advance of the event to help fund their Maker Faire projects, and the event benefits from higher ticket sales due to community partners driving ticket sales to receive the proceeds from two day sales.
  • Sponsored tickets for educators (We have a verbal from a sponsor, and should have finalized soon)
  • Sponsored tickets for Title One school students including transportation (this is a new program, sponsors needed)
  • Sponsored workshops such as Learn to Solder, Make-a-Shirt, etc. (Included in sponsor guide, need to identify sponsors)
  • Workshop incentives for community partners – we are working to build a model where workshops with a cost have the net proceeds flow back to the community partner that runs the workshop.

Call For Makers

  • We will start accepting proposals in mid-May – BUT – if you want to do something extraordinary, send us an email now, and let’s talk about your space needs or other special requirements.

Other ways you can help

  • Potential sponsors – please identify potential sponsors, especially if you have a contact you can share for us to reach out
  • Potential organizers – we need more individuals that are willing to help produce the event – from social media to project management to area captains – and more.
  • New makers – If you know a maker that should get a personal invite – let us know now – especially if they do something BIG and we need to make special arrangements.
  • New community organizations – We’d love to meet more local community groups and get them involved in Maker Faire – especially if their type of content is not yet represented at the event.
  • New Power Racing teams – We are going BIG with Power Racing this year, and we need more teams to go with a bigger track. Help us identify people that would love this special blend of engineering and fun.

And..what can we do to make Maker Faire more awesome for you? Challenge us 🙂