by Carmen Flores Tanis
Imagine a Maker Faire aimed for a young crowd, but with more art, a petting zoo full of friendly animals and jars full of creepy crawlies. Add a play area full of cardboard boxes just begging to be transformed into kid-friendly fortresses, and you’ve got the OC Fair Imaginology.
The three-day fair was recently held Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26 at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. The CHA Southern California Chapter is delighted to report that our participation was a great success.
When planning for the event, the Chapter Board decided to spotlight the various CHA member sections by featuring a different sponsor on each of the three days.
First, on Field Trip Day Friday, Ellison/Sizzix shared a fun die-cut “Gear Goggles” project with over 250 students of all ages. Saema Khwaja, Education Manager for Ellison/Sizzix, worked very hard to come up with a project that would fit both the Steampunk motif and STEAM focus of the fair (STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, a movement championing the integration of creative skills with scientific thinking in school and business environments). Khwaja’s gear embellished goggles were the perfect craft! Thanks to Brea Beadworks, the kids also had fun beads to add to their creations.
While the students crafted, teachers and adult volunteers were busy die-cutting gears, flowers, hearts, stars and apples from pop-up sponge, magnet sheets, foam, adhesive felt metallic paper and wood. The projects were a great way to teach the students various practical applications of die-cutting! Two lucky schools received Ellison’s award-winning AllStar SuperStar Machines as part of a giveaway.
Over 1,600 students, parents and teacher volunteers were in attendance on Friday. Khwaja and Galina Stahmer, Event Coordinator for Ellison/Sizzix, were incredibly busy with non-stop crafting from start to finish and said they are looking forward to participating again next year!
Next up, the Curacao’s Kids Creative Hub took place on Saturday. The Curacao Street Team volunteers shared a cute way to encourage kids to drink lots of water while instilling a recycling mentality in them. Each child was given a small bottle of water, which he/she could drink on the spot or save to drink later. The bottles, whether empty or full, were each wrapped in yarn and topped with a little foam ball. The kids added yarn hair and tiny faces to create simple dolls, which can be kept and treasured once the bottles are emptied. Ruth Corrales-Garcia, PR & Community Affairs for Curacao, reports that over 200 kids had fun crafting that day.
To wrap up the weekend, on Sunday, Carmen Flores Tanis, CHA Designer, and her two fellow volunteers, Bruce Tanis and Dolores Colin, shared “Spinning Gear and Flower Brooches” with almost 300 children. Carmen mentioned, “We were slammed with kids as soon as the doors opened at 10AM. After two hours of crafting as fast as we could, we had to shut the line down just to catch our breath for a few minutes! It was intense, but I can’t wait until next year to do it all over again!”
Imaginology has a 30 year history of showcasing and celebrating the many educational opportunities in Orange County – from 4H Clubs and miniature train groups to ethnic dance schools and reading groups. Formerly known as Youth Expo, the fair re-imagined and rebranded itself two years ago to include the scholastic focus of STEAM and more of the popular maker movements, which encompass the elements of electronics and robotics. This has led to an explosive growth with a reported 30,000 visitors in attendance over the three days of the 2015 fair.
The Chapter Board would like to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this event such a success! We were able to share the joy of crafting with close to 800 children plus the many adults who visited our booth. We repeatedly overheard the phrases, “I never thought of that,” and “I have one of those, but never knew what to do with it!” Events such as this one are wonderful opportunities to give back to the community, inspire creativity, promote the talents and products of our Chapter members, educate consumers about our products and meet our customers first hand.
The CHA Southern California Chapter will definitely be participating in Imaginology next year! We love the idea of having different members featured each day.
Here’s how to contact us:
Sponsor Opportunities: Ruth Garcia – President – firstname.lastname@example.org
Product Donations: Saema Khwaja – Vice President – email@example.com
Volunteering: Carmen Flores Tanis – Secretary – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fundraising: Julianna Hudgins – Treasurer – email@example.com