The Hippo


Jun 3, 2020








Dover Mini Maker Faire

When: Saturday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Exhibitors and activities will be held at: The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St., Dover, NH 
One Washington Mill, Washington St., Dover, NH 
Henry Law Park, Dover, NH
Cost: Tickets are $12, or $10 if purchased in advance. Children ages 5 and under are free.

Doing it themselves
Second Mini Maker Faire hits Dover

By Jake DeSchuiteneer

For Keith Violette, invention has always been a family affair. The son of an aerospace engineer, he spent much of his youth tinkering in his father’s basement workshop.
“I always had this bug to invent things,” he said. 
Today, Violette has made a career out of that inventing bug, working with DEKA to design medical devices and other items. He’s passed the hobby down to another generation of Violettes as well. Both his daughter, Lauren, 10, and his son, Sean, 7, have been interested in invention from a very young age. 
The three Violette inventors are just a few of the many exhibitors participating in the second annual Dover Mini Maker Faire, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presented by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, in Dover, N.H., and held at the museum and other locations in Dover, the event will bring together a wide variety of inventors, builders, artists and creators to demonstrate the interesting things they make. 
“There’s a lot of innovation happening in New Hampshire behind closed doors,” said Jane Bard, president and education director of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. “Maker Faire is a way to showcase that and share it with the public.” 
On the day of the fair, the Violette family will be holding three separate demonstrations. Keith Violette will present demos on paper rockets as well as an original toy he invented with his kids. Known as the Air Rocket Glider, the toy is a hybrid between a toy airplane and a compressed-air toy rocket. 
“My son and I designed up some parts with a 3-D printer in our basement and the next day we were testing out our new toy,” Violette said. 
Sean Violette, the fair’s youngest exhibitor, will give a demonstration of a handheld paper airplane launcher. Fairgoers will have the chance to build their own paper airplane and see how far they can make it fly. Lauren Violette will be running a 3-D printer during the event to show how the devices work and to send young visitors home with a souvenir. 
“She came up with the idea as a hands-on activity for kids to make a little button or coin that has been 3-D printed,” Keith Violette said. 
The Open Organisation of Lockpickers, known as TOOOL, will return after a successful showing at last year’s event. According to Bard, TOOOL’s booth was one of the most popular amongst fairgoers.
“[Lockpicking] was one of the most popular … because that was something where [visitors] could sit down and learn a skill,” Bard said. 
Tom Williams, president of the Southern Maine chapter of TOOOL, said that the guiding mission of the organization is to strip away some of the mystery behind locks. 
“We’re all about teaching the basics of locks and how they function, and how easily they can be defeated, as well as the puzzle behind the locks,” Williams said. “[Locks are] all around you, but nobody knows anything about them.”
During the Maker Faire, TOOOL will allow visitors to engage in hands-on lockpicking activities. 
“The majority of locks can be picked open with the same basic fundamentals,” Williams said. “A lot of people are surprised how easy it is. We’ve had people from grandparents all the way down to kids in first or second grade picking locks with us.” 
First-year exhibitor BYO Guitars, an Amherst, N.H., company that sells unassembled electric guitar kits, uses computer numerical control cutting devices that allow for creating custom guitar designs. Owner Shawn Duarte, a guitar player and avid woodworker, said he hopes to have some finished guitars and guitar parts on display at the Maker Faire.
The Maker Faire will host a number of other exhibitors from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries. Dover’s 7th Settlement Brewery, located at 47 Washington St. in Dover, will offer brewery tours to demonstrate the beer-making process. KinneBotanicals, a New Hampshire company that creates custom vertical gardens using environmentally friendly materials, will show attendees methods for growing plants on the wall. 
There will be appearances by creative fiction fan groups as well, such as the Bay State Ghostbusters and the 501st New England Garrison, a Star Wars costuming troupe of dedicated fans that make their own realistic Star Wars costumes. According to Bard, that mix between the artistic and the scientific is a large part of the Maker Faire’s appeal. 
“That’s key to a good maker fair is having that variation. You can … make the connection between the arts and the sciences. It’s not just one or the other,” she said. “There really is something for everyone. That’s the beauty of it.”   

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