Monday, August 7, 2017

A Saturday Adventure - Dayton Mini Maker Faire

Margo has a summer job (which warrants its own, separate, post).
Isaac helps Mama set up the market booth
One of the results is that she's occupied at a farmer's market on Saturdays, leaving the boys and me to our own devices.  Usually this has amounted to the three of us getting up, playing some, bumping over to the market for breakfast and a hug from Margo, and then...  The boys and I go have an adventure.
We're all happy to see each other
Dancing in front of a Flip Dot display

Last Saturday was the second Dayton Mini Maker Faire at the Carillon Historical Park (which also hosts another favorite of ours, Rail Fest).  We went last year and had a great time, so this year it was solidly on our schedule.  Last time Oma came along, this time it was Opa's turn.
Mini Maker Faire is an opportunity for anyone who makes anything and/or wants to encourage anyone else to make something to come and share their passion.  There is blacksmithing. There are robotics clubs.  Model rocketeers. Code and circuit enthusiasts.  R/C naval battle reenactors.  A swing dance club.  Car butcherers.  The Dayton Amatuer Radio Association.  Astronomers.  People who make steam engines that spin around and blow bubbles.  A guy with a steam-powered bicycle.  Clothing artists and cosplayers. NASA was there. You get the idea?
The neatest part is that all these exhibitors come and are just overjoyed to explain how much they love the thing they're doing, and their enthusiasm is contagious.  
Here's the multimedia tour of our experience...
video 
This fellow, Norman Gibson, built this street organ himself, complete with the articulated dancing animal band inside.  He also made the punch music for it.  It was amazing.  Alten almost had the strength to get it up to full speed.
I didn't take photos the whole time, so I'll have to narrate the part about the train.  For those who don't know the Carillon Historical Park, it has train track, laid and maintained by the Carillon Park Rail and Steam Society.  A small train track, with small trains.  Small, in this case, is 1/8 scale.  7 1/2" gauge track (that's how far apart the rails are).  But the thing is, the trains are made to be ridden on, which makes it awesome.  And the ride lasts seven to ten minutes, which is awesome, too.  They have tunnels, trestles, switches and all.  It costs a dollar to ride, and the lines, depending on the event the train is running for, can be very long.  Like an hour.
  So when we walked up to the depot and the boys saw the train running with no line at all they were jubilant.  I have to admit, I was excited, too.  We got all the way up to the track before I saw on the schedule that rides were from 1-4 pm.  We were there two hours before it would start.  Alten and Isaac were not completely heartbroken.  They decided the next best thing would be to sit on the hill by the track and watch the engineer running the train.  An attendant nearby told me the engines had to be tested, and the track had to be gone over to make sure all the switches were in order and the tracks were cleared.  So Opa and I stood near the boys and chatted.
  When the train came by it stopped at the depot, and the engineer came over.
 "Do you folks want a ride?  It's not time yet, but I'm going over the tracks right now and I could take you around.  There'll be some stopping while I move branches and things, you'll need to just sit tight while I do that."
  Wah!!!!!!!  It was great!  We got to take the trip a little slower than usual, pick up another person who was trimming brush in the back, take on a few more cars from a siding...  It was a very special way to ride - I felt like we were getting a bonus experience in seeing some of the CPRSS's maintenance work.
  Of course, we also came back in the afternoon to ride for the fee :)
  
Moving on, we had to spend about ten minutes on a jewelweed-seed-pod-popping break.  Good, honest entertainment, believe me! This also involved some running up and down the sides of the old canal.
We met our friends Will, Lydia, and Eleanor to get something to eat.  Top on the girls' priority list was riding on the train and sliding on the slides, so we did both of those things then.
It is true, the train runs many times over the summer and the hill of tunnel-slides is always at the park, but to the girls those things trumped any "maker" activity, and the boys had already had a full morning of going exhibit-to-exhibit.

The slides are pretty cool, but much more fun to slide down if your rump fits the curve.  Mine doesn't quite, so I watch.
Our last stop was the rockets.  There is a Miami Valley rocket club, the Wright Stuff Rocketeers, who will inform you where you can meet them if you want to see the BIG rockets go up.  They have a very large field somewhere off east of here for that kind of action (after the crops are out).  They stick with the little motors at Carillon Park, but it's still awfully entertaining.
 
I'd like you all to note that I captured this rocket in the very act of launching.  Thank you, thank you.  Oh, please, enough applause!  You're embarrassing me!
Though we didn't buy a rocket to build and launch (you can do that there), the folks running the field let us partake in the action...
The man in the gray shirt was showing the kids how the primer is attached, and explaining how creatively the launchpads were contrived to meet the various needs presented by changing conditions and different sized rockets.  There was some serious thought put into them.  Will, impressed, took some photos of his own.
After watching a number of rockets get launched, we ambled back to the car.  And that was that!  We had a fabulous time.  And next year we'll go back.  Maybe as exhibitors!