Seattle Maker Faire: The Case for Magnuson Park

(NOTE: The Seattle Mini Maker Faire will be held at the Seattle Center on June 2-3, 2012. For more information, please visit the official web site at As for this blog entry, I like the pictures of Magnuson Park so I’m keeping it published for now, but be sure to read the comment which explains why the faire can’t be held there — at least not for this year.)

There’s been discussion lately of having a Maker Faire in Seattle in 2012. The question now is where to hold the event. I suggest Magnuson Park.

Long ago, Magnuson Park used to be the Sand Point Naval Air Station. It is situated on the Northwestern shore of Lake Washington. Although it is ‘tucked away,’ so to speak, it’s not hard to find. You get off 520 (ie Evergreen Point Bridge) at the University of Washington stadium, then drive north along the arterial that follows the lake. About ten minutes later, it’s on your right.

Magnuson Park has huge former airplane hangers that would easily accomodate the dozens of tables and demonstration areas needed to faciliate a Mini-Maker Faire.

The Seattle Friends of the Library hold a semi-annual booksale there, and here’s the hanger that they use, which itself should be able to accomodate a Mini-Maker Faire (with potential in the rest of the park to host a full fledged version):

Magnuson Park is a good match for Maker Faire, because it has already got to be one of the geekiest parks in the world.

For example, here’s a bit of the humonguous community garden:

Then there’s the decaying industrial infrastructure next door:

Bizarre pieces of artwork that just happen to be laying around:

And then there are things that I’m not sure whether they are decaying industrial infrastructure or bizarre pieces of artwork (or both!):

As you walk around, you never know what you’ll find peeping out at you:

There are official science experiments for viewing (please do not touch!):

And I don’t know what to say about this, except that it’s interesting:

And surely not least, there’s ‘The Fin Project,’ which not-so-metaphorically cost billions of dollars and risked the fate of the planet in order to create:

In case you’re still wondering, “What’s the big deal?” here’s one of the fin plaques:

The SSN on the plaque does not mean ‘Social Security Number.’ It’s the US Navy’s designation for fast-attack nuclear submarine. Yeah, these are real fins from real nuclear submarines. As public parks go, it doesn’t get much geekier than that.

Moving on, of course there’s Lake Washington, in case you want to have a picnic like people do in normal public parks:

Not shown: Kite Hill, the dog run, the oceanographic lab next door, the concrete bunkers, fields where you can fly RC aircraft (I think), the big climbing rock, and the vast realms of free parking.

In this era of Google Maps and automobile GPS, it’s not hard to find Magnuson Park. It’s about twenty minutes from Seattle downtown, and within bicycle distance of the University of Washington campus.

Given these pluses, Magnuson Park would make an excellent candidate for the location of a Seattle Maker Faire.

About engineerzero

Once and future engineer.
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2 Responses to Seattle Maker Faire: The Case for Magnuson Park

  1. Christin says:

    The hangar at Magnuson Park is under construction in 2012 and is not available for rental. The hangar is getting much needed upgrades which will bring the building up to fire code. If the construction schedule gets finalized and if the hangar is available for a weekend that does not conflict with other major events in the city (e.g. SeaFair, Bumbershoot) then we might be able to rent the hangar for Seattle Mini Maker Faire.

    -Christin Boyd
    Producer, Seattle Mini Maker Faire

  2. engineerzero says:

    I was surprised to find out that this was the case, since I knew there were plans to have a book sale there in 2012. As it turns out, the use of the hangar is indeed limited by fire code restrictions to only four events in 2012, and the Friends of the Seattle Public Library is therefore cutting back from two to just one full-scale sale next year. .

    However, the workshop adjacent to the hangar is also quite large and appears not to be affected by fire code restrictions. For example, the FSPL is still scheduling four ‘mini-book sales’ in the workshop of Building 30 in 2012, as described here: Perhaps the multiple rooms of the Building 30 Workshop (plus perhaps the ‘brig’ across the street) would be able to accommodate a Mini-Maker Faire.

    Anyhow, Magnuson Park is a cool place and I recommend a visit, without or without Maker Faire, to all those of geeky stripe.

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