DOVER — A visit to the NH Maker & Food Fest on Sat., June 29 at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover is to experience the museum’s mission in action. “Our mission is to actively engage families with hands-on discovery,” said Jane Bard, Museum President. “And that’s exactly what the Maker Fest is all about!”

Starting at 10:00 a.m. and going until 4:00 p.m., over sixty “Maker” presenters, performers, and food vendors converge on the museum. Taking over the Children’s Museum exhibits, the entire upper park, and the lower parking lot, this family friendly event shows off what creative locals can do with a little talent, tons of ingenuity, risk-taking, and perseverance! Robotic groups hang out next to authors. Artisans converse with a NASA Ambassador. A noisy musical tesla coil hums in one corner of the park while a local band performs on stage. Inventors take selfies with Ghostbuster and Stormtrooper cosplayers.

“The variety of Makers at this Fest makes for a really unique experience,” shared Neva Cole, Museum Communications Director. “I’ve literally gone from one table to the next learning something new at each table – and I’ve been helping to organize this Fest for the last four years!”

Each year brings new discoveries. “We have been fortunate to welcome back a lot of talented Makers who have been with us all seven years,” says Cole. “Like Donald Norris who calls himself the Raspberry Pi Guy, and organizations like Port City Makerspace. But then each year we also connect with new Makers like artist Melanie Lovering who paints with thread on digitally printed fabric or Regina Tranfa who wrote and illustrated a kid’s book called “My Dad Took Me to Outer Space.”

Of course the Maker activities are not the only thing the Fest has going on. New this year, the Food Truck portion of the Fest will be free and open to the public. “Right now we have about eleven food vendors signed up to participate, and their offerings range from BBQ, baked goods, cupcakes, tacos, burgers, and even ice cream created using liquid nitrogen!”

And because that’s not enough for one day, the museum is also doing its second annual Dover Ducky Derby, as well as a new building challenge called the Recycled River Regatta. The Derby is a collaboration between SEED (Seacoast Educational Endowment for Dover) and the museum. Yellow rubber ducks, which can be adopted online or at the Children’s Museum, will be launched from the Washington Street Bridge at 1pm during the Fest and race down the river. The first few ducks to cross the finish line will get prizes. Proceeds from the Derby will benefit both the museum and SEED. The Recycled River Regatta will take place right after the Derby at 1:15 p.m. Everyone is invited to engineer a small boat out of recycled materials that can not only float, but also survive the 20-foot drop from the Washington Street Bridge into the Cocheco river! Judges will award prizes to the boats. Both of those events are free for the public to watch from the lower-park along the river, steps away from the food trucks.

“We’re still accepting applications to be Makers and Food Vendors,” said Bard. The deadline to apply is June 7. “We usually have around sixty makers, food vendors and performers, and the day of the festival we see about 1,600 attendees of all ages. Although this is hosted by a children’s museum, we see many adults without children having a great time!” Makers demonstrating their craft, talent or projects pay nothing to participate in the Fest, commercial makers selling their products pay a $50.00 fee to participate, and food vendors pay a $75 fee to sell food during the Fest.

Visiting the Fest is affordable for everyone. Kids ages 5 and under are free. Families can purchase a Family Fun Pack into the Fest for $40.00 at the door ($35.00 in advance) that will get two adults and up to 3 children (ages 6-17) into all the fun. CMNH Members pay just $6.00 at the door ($5.00 in advance). People who have EBT Cards pay just $1.00 per person for up to two adults and three kids. Seniors pay $10.00 at the door, and active military personnel can receive discounted admission of $7.00 per person for up to four family members. “These discounts reflect what we normally offer when people visit the museum,” said Bard. “The New Hampshire Maker & Food Fest is the best one-day embodiment of our mission, to actively engage families in hands-on discovery, that it made sense to make it as accessible to as many groups of people as possible.”

More information, Maker applications, volunteer forms, and tickets to the New Hampshire Maker & Food Fest can be found online at www.childrens-museum.org.

 

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