Three [BIG] Minnesota Tech Events That Delivered Last Month

Minneapolis-St. Paul Mini Maker Faire

Held on Saturday, June 3rd, the third annual Minnesota maker festival was the largest local tech event of the month by far with just over 5000 people in attendance and 130 Makers exhibiting. This years great change was moving on up to the Grandstand at the State Fairgrounds, providing for a more condensed, centralized and intimate experience for all.

What makes this unique is the sheer number of both high tech and low tech hands-on activities for kids and adults. For example, this year featured laser engraving, Raspberry Pi, robots, virtual reality, Arduino, 3D printing, drones, and the list goes on. There is literally something for everyone – the variety of topics and the passion of the Makers give this festival a creative and exploratory vibe that is unlike anything else.

“We’ve seen growth every year in attendees and exhibitions,” says event coordinator Connie Rutledge, who works with local partner Leonardo’s Basement in partnership with the international Maker Media organization.

“We are quite proud of the growth and success of our Education Day, which takes place the day before the public event. We invite 7th graders from around the state to attend as a field trip free of charge – we cover bus expenses and everything. We had over 1200 students this year, up from 500 our first year.”

Rutledge says the goal is to reach 10,000 in attendance sooner than later and developing more relationships with local technical institutions is part of the plan to do so.

MinneAnalytics Big Data Tech 2017

The second biggest tech event of June counted 1,237 registrations and 605 on the waitlist. As generic as ‘big data tech’ sounds, the appetite for these themes is insatiable as over 1,000 came through the doors of this free event at Normandale Partnership Center on June 8th.

“Above all, we’re authentic,” says Benevolent Overlord Dan Atkins.  “We are in the right place in the right time, we have an amazing core team and volunteer base…plus made a bundle of money for our nonprofit to continue raising the bar on reinvesting!”

Atkins & company have demonstrated some of the most tireless efforts over the years, since 2012 their parent org MinneAnalytics has produced over 50 unique events in Minnesota that always just seem to draw all the right things together.

“We just keep getting bigger all around so it’s hard to keep track of which one is even our biggest anymore.” Next up: FARCON.

Open Source North (OSN)

Launched in 2015 to focus on Minnesota’s local open source enterprise development community, OSN covers everything from front to back and in between when it comes big companies using open source technology.   Six tracks and 36 presenters participated in this years sold out show on June 8th at Normandale Community College.

“To share, learn, and connect,” are the high level goals explains OSN driver Jeff Urban, a 13 year veteran of SDG which manages the conference.  “95% of our attendees are local.”

Year one was 256 registered, year two saw 412, and this years event was definitely over capacity with 550 registered.  Urban points to a combination of high value content that’s made accessible at a low price point, supported by returning sponsors as the formula for success so far.

“We had no more 10 name badges left on the table at the end of the day,” he says.  “We’re evaluating how to best proceed for next year, bigger isn’t necessarily better in this case.”