City of Brookings places emphasis on makers


Citizens from Brookings congregated in front of the Children’s Museum of South Dakota Tuesday, Sept. 27 not only to honor Brookings Creativity Week, but also to celebrate one of the many things they consider a great contribution to their city: its makers.

“To me, Brookings always had the maker’s movement going,” said Brookings mayor Tim Reed. “So I think we’ve just got to celebrate it more and expand on it.”

The Brookings Maker Festival brought from the woodwork a wide variety of makers. Booths consisted of craftsmen, artisans, artists and musicians from South Dakota State, Brookings and surrounding areas.  

Maria Hassel, an entrepreneurial studies major, played music at the festival. Her songs included original songs and covers from artists like Mumford and Sons.

“I love playing around town and stuff, so I hope to meet more people that like music and are into songwriting so I can collaborate with them,” Hassel said.

According to Jennifer Quail, director of entrepreneur support for the Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), that is exactly what the Maker Festival is for.

“It’s more about celebrating makers and creating that opportunity for networking and building relationships,” Quail said, in hopes to “meet the needs of our community as a whole.”

Tiffaney Flaata, a mechanical engineering major, had an exhibit for 3-D printing.

Flaata was there to “educate people on what 3-D printing is all about and get people interested in it.”

Products made at the festival ranged from pottery and yarn to 3-D-printed Star Wars figures, but sales of any product were prohibited.

“We might add sales in the future, whatever the community encourages it to become,” Quail said.

It is the first Maker Festival to take place in the Brookings, but the BEDC members are looking to make it an annual event. Despite a few makers not showing up, Quail believes the festival was a resounding success.

“I think overall we’ve had a great turn-out,” Quail said, “a great response from the community and we couldn’t have asked for better weather.”

The festival, sponsored by Falcon Plastics and Premiere Source, was the brainchild of Mayor Tim Reed and the BEDC. The festival was meant to shed light on the BEDC’s Maker’s Space, a program that gives the community access to a 3-D printer and other specialized equipment.