C-J: “Like NuLu Fest, Maker Faire catches on”

Written by Emily Hagedorn, The Courier Journal … view full story and video.

Laura Neutz Holmes thinks back on the first NuLu Fest.

It was small with 30 vendors. Rain poured down, ending the event after just six hours.

“And now look at it,” said the NuLu Business Association vice president. “What street fair has a roller coaster in the middle of the street?”

The fifth annual NuLu Fest took over East Market Street Saturday, and this year, it doubled to two blocks — the second of which contained the inaugural Louisville Mini Maker Faire.

And part of the Maker Faire was The Device, which safely propelled riders along rails that curved up into the air.


“It was like pretty fast,” said Noah Rosario, 8, of St. Matthews. “I was pretty excited.”

Maker Faire organizers wanted to do something “to celebrate makers of all kinds,” said co-founder Elizabeth Rounsavall. And they decided to join with NuLu Fest because it’s the official after-party to IdeaFestival and had the experience of running a festival.

And like NuLu Fest — though much quicker — it has surpassed organizers’ expectations. They thought 30 vendors might take part, but in fact, 85 signed on, in addition to the 80 vendors who signed on through NuLu Fest, she said.

“When we first started talking to people, we got a lot of, ‘What is a Maker Faire?’” Rounsavall said. “But it just reached a tipping point of people calling us and saying, ‘I want in.’”

Maker Faires take place around the world and are sponsored by Make magazine, whose founder Dale Dougherty is a Louisville native.

NuLu Fest had food, retail booths and music, including Sam “Shake” Anderson, The Debauchees and The Pass.

More than 10,000 people were expected to attend.

“(The first NuLu Fest) was quaint,” said Joe Phillips, a manager at Cake Flour on East Market, which has been involved in NuLu Fest since the beginning. “It now feels more like an inner-city festival should.”

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