Seen Saturday at Maker Faire 2011: kids licking 9-volt batteries and setting tissue paper on fire with magnifying glasses. A bicycle-powered string band on one stage and an electronic digideroo on another. Guitar amps made from trash. A mechanical giraffe wandering the grounds proclaiming my star sign is Virgo:

Robots of assorted sizes and shapes:

Firefighters, of sorts:

Fire flowers, of sorts:



Eco-friendly vehicles:

And would you know – the Muffin Man!

The food, as befitting a feel-good gathering celebrating curiosity and experimentation, was decidedly un-Boardwalk like. The Kids hit the churros and garlic fries pretty hard, but there was something for everyone:

Big Fat Sausages! BBQ Oysters!

Oysters hot and smoky on the grill

Foot-long cones filled with ice cream made on the spot

Sweet or savory crepes

Even a paella truck

But the CRAZIEST invention I saw all day – the biggest revelation – had nothing to do with 3-D printers or Arduino controllers. Drum roll, please . . . here it is:

Can you imagine?! Garlic fries topped with Dungeness crab and aioli?! No, I know you can’t because I’m still having trouble with the idea. Here’s what it looks like:

I wish I could say I had some and it was delicious, but none of us were brave enough to go there. The boys ate their garlic fries straight, no chaser.