Inventors Fair

37th Annual Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light
Regional Inventors Fair
presented by SONY Electronics, Inc.

February 2024

Edison Inventors Fair Overview

Information on this site is modified to conform to most Rules and Regulations of the HF ICW. Some regional guidelines differ. Participants invited to the HF ICW will be informed of the differences.

Since 1988, the Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair (TAERIF) has been inspiring thousands of students across Southwest Florida to “hatch an idea.” In a rapidly changing, highly competitive world, new ideas must be generated to balance progress with the environment. Success in education and business often requires reinvention to lead in their respective fields of specialty. This is true for the TAERIF advancing opportunities for participants as an official affiliate of the Henry Ford Invention Convention Worldwide (HF ICW). The TAERIF name is currently interchangeable with the Florida Gulf Coast Invention Convention (FGIC).

TAERIF’s (FGIC) territory is mainly but not exclusive to the southwest Florida five county area of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee. Leadership is currently served by the educational nonprofit Edison Fairs Board of Directors which meets monthly. All school districts, businesses, organizations and private parties with an interest in encouraging science, technology, engineering, math, invention and entrepreneurship in our region may attend meetings as guests until such time interest to serve on the Board is shared. To receive an invitation to attend a meeting, please email:

Opportunities for awards and scholarships are offered as incentives to students. The greatest reward is the knowledge gained through participation.

2024 Edison Fairs Theme

Fielding Florida’s Future Challenges

A suggested list of topics to Pay Attention To (See the Student Resources page – STEP ONE: INVENTION PROCESS)

Agriculture (growing more in less; addressing crop losses) 

AI – Artificial Intelligence


Culturing food production

Cybersecurity: Protecting critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals from cyber threats and attacks, which are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated

Energy and transportation: Advancing clean energy technologies and alternative transportation options to reduce Florida’s dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate the impact of transportation on the environment.

Health and biotechnology: Developing and investing in new treatments, therapies, and technologies to address health challenges facing Floridians, such as chronic diseases like diabetes. 

Natural disasters(Preparation & Mitigation & Response)                         

Population growth impact                                                          

Protecting Fresh Water Resources                

Sea level rise (Adaptation of Coastal Urban and Natural Ecosystems) 


Wildlife corridors     

Why Have an Invention Program?

  • raises self-esteem
  • fosters enthusiasm for new learning
  • grows an appreciation of everyday things
  • not limited to gender, race, creed, or color
  • promotes interdisciplinary studies
  • challenges the application and synthesis of knowledge
  • broadens and tests a wide range of research skills
  • encourages scientific and engineering practices
  • promotes adaptable workforce skills and career flexibility
  • encourages honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness

“Ideas are useless unless they are nurtured. They can grow into inventions, and inventions can change the course of history!”

The Invention Program Rubric (K-12)

    • Identifying & Understanding (Problem recognition skills; scientific discovery & application)
    • Ideating (Critical and creative thinking)
    • Originality (Uniqueness; product/method and intellectual property research)
    • Design, building, testing, and refining (Engineering through to proof of concept; safety)
    • Logbook (Validation of process; evidence; witnesses)
    • Market potential (Usefulness, relevance, demographics)
    • Value proposition (Product life; environmental & social impact, cost-effectiveness)
    • Prototype/model ($50 expense limit for national competition)
    • Display board (Physical or digital board) — A concise visual ‘invention travel log’
    • Presentation: Nonprofessional, unedited video (Avoid Q&A session) or person-to-person
  • BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR – Grades K-3 can skip. As students progress through the grades, growing appreciation and understanding of entrepreneurism will be beneficial
    • Product production (Manufacturing)
    • Sales options (Market research, licensing versus business development)
    • Business plan
    • Knowledge and application of IPP


    • Individual Participant Entries and Team Entries will be judged separately. Individual participants will compete against individuals not teams.
    • Regional Fair Team maximum of three members (3) is allowable. This is in contrast to the Henry Ford Invention Convention eligibility rules allowing up to four members. Exceeding three participants will be grounds for Regional disqualification.
    • Team members may be from different grades.
    • Teams will compete against other teams across all three divisions, K through 12.
    • Science Fair Co-registered entries take note! All Inventor Fair entries must complete the Invention Program K-12 Rubric.
    • Individual and team entries are eligible to advance to Nationals. Students invited to attend Inventor Nationals in Dearborn, MI will require sponsorship to cover costs in full or in part, if funds are not available through Edison Fairs. (Airfare, lodging, meals, registration fee and accompanying parent or chaperone.)
    • Participation is permitted in both the Science and Inventors Fairs. Only one registration is permitted in each fair.
    • Regional Fair participants are allowed to enter unaffiliated inventor-entrepreneur competitions with the same project in the same year. The HF ICW can disqualify an entry if unaffiliated competitions are entered with the same project.



  • Public, Private, Charter, Virtual, and Home Schooled students may hold a Fair.
    • Elementary (Grades K-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School (9-12)
    • Special needs students are welcome
    • Please contact to learn more.
  • School affiliation(s) with the Edison Fairs is required to promote students to the next level.
    • Each school division (elementary, middle, and high) requires a separate affiliation.
    • Affiliates may promote a minimum of six (6) and a maximum of fifteen (15) students.
    • For fairness, the number of students per affiliate is dependent upon participation numbers.


  • A Live-Virtual hybrid event has proven to have merit
  • Logbooks may be virtually judged. If need be, hardcopies may be made of digitally prepared logbooks. Judges have commented viewing logbooks virtually has benefits.
  • In consideration of cost and waste reduction, virtual displays/PowerPoints/ or slides may replace physical boards. This will be determined on an annual basis. Advisories will follow. Until further notice, physical display boards will be required for live events.
  • Smart phone use by a student is permitted for urgent or emergency use. Disruptive use may lead to dismissal.


  • The Henry Ford National Invention Convention, Dearborn, MI, holds a Raytheon National Invention Convention (May-June)
  • Pratt & Whitney Invention Convention Global (July-August).


  • All participants receive a Regional Certificate of Participation. This may be facilitated through the teacher or school director.
  • Individual Grade Level Awards, include First, Second, Third, and either Fourth or Runner-Up
  • Team Awards: One overall K – 12 Team Division includes elementary, middle, high.
    • Age related achievement will factor into final selection of winners.
    • Teams may be considered for a Special Category Award if the award is not designated for an individual.
  • Special Award selections are based on donor guidelines.
  • High School Division Winners receive an honorary ride in the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade, if available.
  • Elementary and Middle Division Winners ride in the Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade, if available.
  • Each invitation to Raytheon National Invention Convention is per student. Each team member counts as one invitation.

The Henry Ford National Invention Convention website has a wealth of information for educators, parents, students, and mentors. See Invention Convention | STEM + Invention Education (

Questions? Contact Us!

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