Review of May Events: Bazaar Bizarre @ Maker Faire

(May 3-4th) This was the third annual spring Bazaar Bizarre held in conjunction with Make magazine’sMaker Faire.” I love participating in this event but it has changed drastically from year to year, so you never really know what it’s going to be like.

At the first Maker Faire, the Bazaar Bizarre was pretty small, and held outdoors. I didn’t vend that year, I only visited, so I don’t know much else about it. The second year, the Baz Biz moved indoors to a huge hangar-like pavilion. There were hundreds of vendors, and we shared the space with the main stage and dozens of workshops, demonstrations and displays. Many customers complained that they felt confused and overwhelmed by the barrage of multi-sensory stimuli, so the Bazaar switched gears again. This year’s event was held indoors, in a comparatively small and carpeted room. There were fewer than half as many vendors as last year, and the overall atmosphere was much quieter and calmer. Even the knitting drummer was deemed too disruptive and made to move outside. Had she not been a vendor, I think the postcard “machine” may have been next.

As usual, Jaime and her family were on-hand to make sure everyone was fed, happy and provided for. This year they also started a raffle to help offset the cost of running the event, to which I happily donated a Family Size Hambone. Anything that helps keep the Baz Biz the best deal in town ($120 for the whole weekend!) is something I will fully support.

The only area which could have been improved was parking. It was a bit confusing getting to the lot, and also figuring out at which gate to park once you were inside. I had to move my car twice. There also seemed to be some confusion about whether or not vendors had to pay for parking. I was told, for example, that parking would be free in the following instances: if I left the lot immediately after loading in; if I moved my car to the far end of the lot, where I would not be competing with paying customers; if I arrived prior to 8am. All of these statements were either false or not communicated properly to the booth attendants, because we had to pay the full parking price both days. It wasn’t really a big deal, but it would have been nice to have definite information about everything in advance.

All in all, the Baz Biz was totally worth it (and always is). I cashed in about 50% more than last year and even got a couple of return customers this weekend at the Capsule Festival. As an added bonus, on my way to get lunch I saw a wedding at the life-sized Mouse Trap game! The giant weight at the end crushed a white wedding cake, which was a little sad but also kind of awesome.

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