Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2017

The wait is over! The Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire returns this weekend for a second year of making, tinkering, inventing, hacking, experimenting, and mostly, having fun.

Jam-packed with hands-on, interactive experiences, live music, performance art, food trucks and more, this gathering and celebration of Santa Cruz’s vibrant maker community is truly a family-friendly event—it’s as much fun for the kids as it is for the adults. Trust me, we were there last year.

So prepare to let off some STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, that is—and be inspired. The Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire runs 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday, April 29 at Gateway School, 126 Eucalyptus Ave.

Here are some highlights from last year’s inaugural faire as well as some tips for enjoying this year’s festivities.

Getting There

In the spirit of Earth Day everyday, you are encouraged to walk, bike, take public transportation or carpool to the Mini Maker Faire. There will be complimentary on-site bike valet and free off-site parking with shuttles to bring you to the faire. Get directions and details here.

Makers and Exhibits


There was plenty to see at last year’s faire, 44 makers/exhibitors to be exact, and there will be more this year. Some will be so engaging, it will be hard to peel the kids away to check out the rest of the faire (looking at you, Modarri!).

We’re looking forward to the return of a couple of fab lab (fabrication laboratory) activities: learning how to 3D print with Cabrillo College Fab Lab, and playing in an augmented reality virtual sandbox by Idea Fab Labs Santa Cruz.

My ghost-hunter son is excited about possibly encountering a ghost at faire newcomer Electric Seance, an interactive spirit board where you can talk to spirits, ask questions and find out what ties them to the earthly realm. And my sea glass hunting kids will head straight to Sea Glass Ornaments, where a father-daughter team is making kinetic art from sea glass using jars and an Arduino platform—rather than google that, come to the faire and learn in person!

Check out some of the makers that will be on hand here.



No festival is complete without a variety of food options and Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire delivers with a fleet of food trucks and vendors including Ate3One, Cruz N Gourmet, Cutesy Cupcakes, Lucy’s Hot Dogs, and Zameen Cuisine Food Truck.

Bonus: For those of us who can’t hang at an all-day event without caffeine, Alta Organic Coffee Company will be there for an energy boost!


At last year’s Mini Maker Faire, we took in a Polynesian dance performance, comedians, and a magic show at the main stage, which only scratched the entertainment lineup surface. The seating area, which included chairs and grassy area for blankets, was a great place to take a break and appreciate some local talent.

This year’s music acts include Preacher Boy playing his signature country-blues, alt-blues, folk-blues, and acoustic-blues; mystic folk-rock band Eve of Eden honoring the timeless tradition of getting back to the garden; Roots-Folk songwriters Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen; and Hank & Ella with The Fine Country Band, a 50’s style country and rockabilly band.

Location, location, location

Gateway School is a five minute walk from Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. After a day of STEAM, there’s no better way to maintain creative inspiration than a walk down to STEAMers for some surf and sunset action. See you at the Second Annual Santa Cruz Mini Maker’s Faire!

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About Christine Candelaria

Christine Candelaria is a local mom of four who enjoys sharing her Santa Cruz adventures. You can follow her #santacruzlife on Instagram at @theaumsmama.