Fairs and Shows for the Maker-Minded

making in progressAs we well know, “to make” can mean many different things, but it’s rare that nobody else is interested in the same things you are. More often, there are associations, gatherings, and fairs for those who make or manufacture a wide variety of products. This can include all industries and sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing to technology. Luckily, Nebraska is centrally located and accessible for many of those niches, so there are events across the board for the maker-minded among us.

Here are a few key fairs, shows, and expositions that we think are worth spending a day (or two) at! Think of them as free educational opportunities or networking experiences. Members of many industries attend these conferences along with the general public, and a maker event can be a great way to learn about a field you’re interested in. If you’re not able to make any of these, you can read about STEM-oriented opportunities at the Nebraska State Fair.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum

When: September 19, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is only called a “mini” fair because it’s a one day event, as opposed to some of the longer conferences or expos. Unfortunately, this year’s call for Makers is closed, but they’ve accumulated a whole host of independent, interesting exhibits that will captivate audiences. The goal is to display the process of making things, whether that’s performing, crafting, inventing, tinkering, or even hacking. According to executive producer Eric Kaplan, “It’s a great place to network with other makers and collaborate on your next project!” Independently produced by the Omaha Children’s Museum and the Omaha Maker Group, the event will feature everything from Chinese artists, custom children’s art books, Omaha biofuels, and “lethal engineering.”

Where: Mid-America Expositions, Inc.

When: September 2-3, 2015

This is a biennial fair, so your next opportunity to attend won’t come around until 2017! It’s certainly no mini-fair, but is actually considered one of the largest, most diversified business expos in the Midwest. The show has been in business since 1965, aiming to highlight the best of what’s produced and made here in the Midwest. The best part? It’s completely free! Come browse new products, technology, and more. Career-seekers can stop by the job pavilion to browse jobs open with Midwest producers. Engineers, architects, printers, contractors, building managers, data processors, and others in the STEM industry may be interested in exploring the very latest equipment and products that could take their profession to the next level.

Where: Lancaster Event Center, Lincoln

When: December 8-10, 2015

This show is a little further out, but certainly worth noting for those interested in agriculture, agricultural manufacturing, or agri-business. The Power Farming Show is the second largest indoor farming show in America, and at 400,000 square feet, twice the size of any other indoor farm show in Nebraska! Indoor displays, promotion of new products, miscellaneous equipment demonstrations, and entirely ag-related exhibits are all part of the festive event. All major farm equipment manufacturers will be there—think Case IH, John Deere, and New Holland—so it will be a great chance to learn about that field (so to speak…).

Questions? Comments? Want to learn more about any of these great events? Leave a comment in the section below, anytime!

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