Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 was our biggest event yet, with over 80 exhibitors, the Southeast Combot Championship fighting robots competition, Electrathon car race , Young Makers activities and Makerspace Showcase, bringing together over 300 technologists, artists, crafters, mechanical and electrical wizards, costumers and prop makers, roboticists, musical artists, inventors, gamers, coders, and more. Over 600 guests visited throughout the day, enjoying exhibits, meeting and networking with makers and each other, and learning about all the great makerspaces, creative groups and programs on the Gulf Coast.
The event, produced by Eureka Factory and made possible in part by a Hillsborough County Economic Development Innovation Initiative (EDI2) grant, inspired a county proclamation declaring April 18, 2015, Maker Day, in Hillsborough County.
Our immense gratitude, as well, to TECO Energy , and to USF Connect, the Florida High Tech Corridor and the National Academy of Inventors for their generous support. Thank you, too, to our fantastic event volunteers, 20 great individuals who gave of their time, energy, and kindness to help from set up to break down!
Very special thanks to Mity Mo Creative for the amazing and generous contribution of graphic design for Gulf Coast MakerCon, from our promo materials to our programs to our banner, and to Sonic Print for donating program and other printing support for our event. And thank you to Chad Mairn of the St. Petersburg College Innovation Lab, Sam McAmis of the USF Robotics Interest Group, Electrathon of Tampa Bay and Real Life, Inc. for making Gulf Coast MakerCon possible.
Over a dozen area makerspaces from across four counties showcased their programs, tools and services, along with member creations. A half dozen schools anchored our Young Makers area, with Maker Education exhibits and activities.
The Tampa Bay Inventors Council brought together a dozen inventors, many with their products for sale. Gamers on the Edge headed up our Gaming area, running tournaments throughout the day, and the St. Petersburg College of Orthotics and Prosthetics partnered with e-NABLE to demonstrate 3D prosthetics printing. The Deconstruction Zone, hosted by Scrap on Spot ewaste recycling was also a big hit.
We also got a last minute, surprise addition of the great Steampunk band, Clockwork Knotwork, who spent some time serenading makers throughout the event.
We’re very grateful to F5Live:Refreshing Technologies for providing live event coverage again this year. You can check out their great collection of interviews from Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 here, showing the terrific diversity of exhibitors and event participants who joined us this year.
Overall, we consider Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 a great success, and plans are already underway for next year’s event, building on this year’s successes with improvements and ideas to make our 2016 event even better.