It’s the season for summer fairs and festivals and I’ve been to a lot of them. Each one has its unique qualities but, on the other hand, if you stop looking for the differences they all start to feel the same.

In my youth, summer fairs seemed to be innovative, more fun — and more creepy. (The last of the sideshows were still featuring carney barkers attempting to draw you in to see freaky things and people.) I saw a demonstration during a mid ’60s Michigan State Fair, where a man strapped on a rocket pack (the kind we were all expecting to be using within five years) and zoomed around the stadium wowing the crowd. Aside from episodes of “The Jetsons,” I haven’t seen a working jet pack since.

All this homogenization of the county fair got me wondering and looking for an alternate kind of exposition. I was excited to find a new genre: the maker fair. This is where people who invent, make things, and develop new ideas get together and display their efforts to the public. It’s sort of like a high-tech arts-and-crafts show but instead of featuring macramé, pottery and hand-carved walking sticks, you might find robots, homemade cars, solar toilets and attempts to cultivate truffles. It’s like the fun parts of a high school science fair without the baking soda volcanoes and other last-minute obligatory entries.

The maker fair felt like the new direction we needed. It could grow, bringing not only individual makers and inventors together but also industry and the research community that could showcase new concepts. Hopefully, someone just might show up with a jet pack and zoom around the fair grounds.

This kind of event attracted my kind of people and I decided to go beyond attending — and participate. I applied to the local Mini Maker Faire with what was apparently a vision more geared to Utopia than to the real world but they let me in anyway.

My idea was to provide a source of free parts for people who were making things. I would bring in a truckload of surplus electronic, mechanical and technical items and attendees would take home any parts they wanted after spending some time helping us dismantle and sort the surplus gear. We assembled about 15 sorting bins including: circuit boards, computer drives, remote controllers, motors, gears, telephone parts … and bins for plastic and metal recycling. There would be a few volunteer experts and me to answer questions.

We brought computers, blenders, printers, coffee makers, audio equipment, televisions, recorders, scanners, phones, toaster ovens, cameras, satellite receivers and machines that fax, copy, slice and dice.

Soon after the fair opened, things took a turn south. No one got hurt but people were not acting like I expected. Instead of nerdy inventors coming around looking for a free power supply or a stepper motor, we had the masses descend who didn’t care about what I thought was proper. They just wanted to dismember something.

There were adults who didn’t know what they were taking apart.

There were the 9-year-old girls who attacked a particular desktop computer with a frightening determination and chilling persistence. Anything that could be dismantled, separated or torn asunder was dissected, down to the smallest screws. They were not happy when they got down to the disk drives and found that we did not have the specialized tools to delve inside those units.

There were the destruction-oriented boys who had no questions but an almost demonic desire to take beautifully built artifacts to pieces. Their request for a hammer was too much and I launched into a sermon about our mission scaring the boys away — although the girls persevered.

I had created the maker fair equivalent of a state fair demolition derby. Did I unwittingly uncover an ugly side of human nature I hardly knew existed?

Of course, we are not the first to offer destruction as entertainment. We’re horrified that the Romans filled the Colosseum to watch destruction and death for amusement yet we flock to movies to be entertained with the same subject matter.

I was not invited back the following year. That’s okay, I didn’t want to do it again. I think we are on the right track with the maker fairs yet we should be wary if we start to see Deconstruction Fairs or Chaos Carnivals popping up. We’ve already got enough of that in our nation’s capital.