Inventors Fair

35th Annual Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light
Regional Inventors Fair
presented by SONY Electronics, Inc.

February 18-25, 2023

Inventors Fair Overview

New in 2023: An Educational Inventors Guidebook, which can be downloaded.
It is a comprehensive source of information on this website with additional business-related articles.
A Table of Contents helps you navigate.

SW Florida onsite programs fostering STEM and invention are offered at
the Edison-Ford Estates Youth Camps and IMAG Hands on Exhibits & Makers Lab.

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. The TAERIF name is currently interchangeable with the Florida Gulf Coast Invention Convention (FGIC).

The Florida Gulf Coast Invention Convention’s 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.

Opportunities for awards and scholarships are offered as incentives to students. The expansion of team projects of up to three members is new to this fair, conforming to the Henry Ford Invention Convention eligibility rules. Science and Engineering Fair CO-registered individual and team projects are acceptable with the understanding Invention Fair requirements must be met. Requirements are distinct for each Fair. It is important to realize at the regional level only one scholarship or award should be expected per project. If selected, all team members will advance to national competition.

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

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

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
    • Product production (Manufacturing)
    • Sales options (Market research, licensing versus business development)
    • Business plan

*** A GREAT Logbook provides thorough documentation from beginning to end, accurately detailing the rubric above. Check out the 2023 RECOMMENDATIONS for a GREAT LOGBOOK.

Fair Levels


  • Public, Private, Charter, Virtual, and Home Schooled students may conduct invention programs and hold Fairs.
    • Elementary (Grades K-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School (9-12)
    • Participants come from the public, private, parochial, and home schools in Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties.
  • 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.


  • Live judging will be the preference, with Virtual judging serving in times of heightened health measures.
  • A Live-Virtual hybrid event has proven to have merit at the national level. Regional events will explore how to utilize the strengths of a hybrid system.
  • Smartphones can be useful for automating the scoring process during onsite events. Stay tuned!


  • 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 certificate of participation.
  • Grade Level Awards, including First, Second, Third, and possibly Runner-Ups, are awarded on the basis of judges’ scores using algorithms to maximize fairness.
  • High School Division Winners receive an honorary ride in the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade.
  • Elementary and Middle Division Winners are invited to ride in the Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade.
  • Special Awards selections for additional prizes and scholarships are based on donor guidelines from individuals, universities and colleges, businesses, and a host of organizations.
  • Advancement Awards acknowledging participants to represent FGIC at The Henry Ford ‘National’ Invention Convention Worldwide in Dearborn, Michigan.

Questions? Contact Us!

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