Sem Abrahams started riding a unicycle when he was 11 and went on to break three world records for riding extremely tall unicycles – some of them invented and built by his father.
Tinkerers, inventors and contraption creators were out in force Saturday at Headwaters Park for the second annual Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire, sponsored by TekVenture.
Abraham’s 6-year-old son, Nash, was expertly weaving in and out of foot traffic on his own unicycle.
The Abrahams are part of the Cirque AmongUs performance team featured at the two-day festival.
In his latest Guinness world record, Sem Abrahams rode a 114.8-foot-tall unicycle, with a safety wire suspended from an overhead crane, for a distance of 28 feet in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 29, 2004.
Several fun cycles, including a party bicycle that seats six built by Abraham’s father and a dicycle with 8-foot-tall wheels are available for the public to ride, along with some circus gear including a trapeze and rolling balls.
The family-friendly festival is a hands-on affair, offering opportunities to make a rocket or motor, create art or learn basic electricity, welding, soldering, glass-blowing or aircraft assembly.
But the real focus of the fair is TekVenture, said Jane Applegate, the event producer.
The TekVenture 50-foot trailer, a public art and technology laboratory, is on display and available for tours, Applegate said.
The TekVenture team partners with the Allen County Public Library and is in one of the library’s parking lots when it’s not making an appearance at a Maker Faire. The TekVenture trailer offers classes and houses a variety of computers and equipment where aspiring inventors may access prototyping tools while learning about the design to fabrication process.
TekVenture also hosts a Chain Reaction Challenge every year in April.
With the event, Applegate and the Maker team hope to raise awareness and money to find a permanent home for TekVenture in downtown Fort Wayne.
We want to expand our footprint, find a permanent home and continue our partnership with the library, Applegate said.
Maker Faires started in San Francisco in 2006 and has swept across the nation, showcasing inventors and makers and their talents. The World Maker Faire was last weekend in New York City, which may have affected the attendance in Fort Wayne, Applegate said.
We had some people who would have been at this fair but wanted to attend the New York Maker Faire, she said.
The Fort Wayne group got started in 2006 with the do-it-yourself-movement, Applegate said.
Our team attended a fair in Detroit, Mich., in July 2010, and all the way back, we were so excited and talked nonstop, she said.
A year later, they launched the first Maker Faire in downtown Fort Wayne, Applegate said.