Big Birthday Bash – the aftermath

We are all very tender, aching and sleepy. It was a fantastic weekend.

1300 of you came to see us at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory over the weekend, where you listened to 24 lecture theatre talks, took part in 14 workshops, shared hundreds of incredible projects you’d made with your Pis, and ate 110 pizzas.

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The workshops were amazing: thanks so much to everybody who helped run them. Here’s Imogen, age 10, who is a Scratch pro (we loved your maze game, Imogen!): this is the first time she’s ever done any robotics, and we thought her robot turned out just great.

Alan McCullagh came all the way from France, where he runs the Rhône Valley Raspberry Jams, to join the other volunteers teaching kids in the Beginners’ Workshop.


(Private note for Alan: ROWER. I said ROWER.)

The projects on display were brilliant. Phil Atkin brought along PIANATRON, his Raspberry Pi synthesiser. Pete from Mythic Beasts (you can only see his hands), who is such a good pianist I’m always too embarrassed to play in front of him, was joined by Jonathan “Penguins” Pallant on the “drums”. (Jonathan gave me an update on the penguins project: the Pis all survived the Antarctic winter; however, the solar panels did not, so some more work’s being done on how to manage power.)

We loved watching kids see the music they were making.

magic keyboard

Some kids learned a bit of history.

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Others got to work on custom devices.

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Brian Corteil’s Easter Bunny (which he lent us last year for YRS) made an appearance, and laid several kilos of chocolate eggs.


We found more kids in quiet corners, hacking away together.


Workshops aren’t just for young learners: here’s Dave Hughes, the author of the PiCamera library, giving a PiCamera workshop to some grown-up users.


There were 24 talks: here’s our very own Carrie Anne explaining what we do in education.


A certain Amy Mather made a Pi photobooth, the results of which, in this particular instance, I found horrifying.


Vendors set up stands to sell Pis and add-ons on both days. Here’s Pimoroni’s stand, as gorgeous as ever.

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All the cool kids played retro games.


Poly Core (Sam Aaron and Ben Smith) provided live-coded evening entertainment. (My Mum, who came along for the day, is still adamant that there must have been a tape recorder hidden in a box somewhere.) They were amazing – find more snippets on their Twitter feed.

Dan Aldred brought a newly refined version of PiGlove. The capitalisation of its name is of utmost importance.

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Ben Croston from the Fuzzy Duck Brewery (and author of RPi.GPIO) uses a Raspberry Pi controller in the brewing process, and made us a batch of very toothsome, special edition beer called Irration Ale (geddit?) for the Saturday evening event.

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There was cake.


It was a bit like getting married again.


There was more cake.


After the beer (and raspberry lemonade for the kids) and cake, several hundred people played Pass the Parcel.

The foyer centrepiece was a talking throne created for an exhibition at Kensington Palace, which we borrowed from its current home in Oxford (thank you to Henry Cooke and Tim Burrell-Saward from ELK for making it, and for your heroic work getting it to Cambridge!) We understand a door had to be removed from its frame to get it here.


A selection of members of Team Pi were photographed on it. Please note the apposite labelling – the throne uses a Pi with RFID to read what’s on the slates out loud. (Ross has cheese on his mind because we interrupted his burger for this shot.)


And we appear to have lost Eben. He was last seen heading towards Bedford in an outsized, Pi-powered Big Trak.

Enormous thanks to all the exhibitors and volunteers – and most especially to Mike Horne, Tim Richardson and Lisa Mather, who made this weekend what it was. We can’t thank the three of you enough.

There was so much more – we were so busy we didn’t get pictures of everything, and I didn’t manage to get to talk to anything like as many of you as I’d like to have done. (Does anybody have a picture of the gerbils?) I’ll add links to other people’s accounts of the weekend’s events as they come in.

Update: here’s Spencer’s blog post, Jarle’s pictures, Ben’s pictures, Les’s pictures, Leo’s pictures, Rob’s blog, Tom’s blog, Alex (RasPi.Tv)’s blog, Phil’s blog – more to come!

Thank you to the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory for letting us take over the building for the weekend.

Thank you to our incredibly thoughtful and generous sponsors for the pass-the-parcel gifts, the contents of the goodie bags, and other giveaways:

  • 4tronix
  • @holdenweb
  • @ipmb
  • @whaleygeek
  • Adafruit
  • AirPi (Tom Hartley)
  • Bare Conductive
  • Brian Cortiel
  • CamJam
  • CPC
  • CSR
  • Cyntech
  • Dawn Robotics
  • Dexter Industries
  • Django
  • Eduboard
  • Energenie
  • Farnell
  • GitHub
  • IQaudIO
  • Low Voltage Labs
  • Manchester Girl Geeks
  • ModMyPi
  • MyPiFi
  • NewIT
  • No Starch Press
  • O’Reilly
  • PiBorg
  • Pimoroni
  • PiSupply
  • RasPi.TV
  • RealVNC
  • RS Components
  • RyanTeck
  • Sugru
  • The Pi Hut
  • UK Space Agency
  • Watterott
  • Wiley
  • Wireless Things

Tableware and Decorations were kindly sponsored by:

  • @WileyTech
  • @RealVNC

 Wood and Laser Cutting was generously sponsored by:

  • @fablabmcr (FabLab Manchester)



Pete Stevens avatar

Oh Blimey. That’s my slightly fluffed up demonstration that almost every single song in popular music is a 4 chord song *except* Don’t Stop Believin’ where I forgot the 7th chord. Please tell me you don’t have the demonstration that ‘Let It Go’ really doesn’t work on a 3 octave keyboard…

omenie avatar

I personally have no video of Let it Go, which is an awful shame. I think ‘the public’ do though …

John avatar

Wow, we really wish we could have been there! Next year!

Alan McC avatar

{Private reply to private note from Liz : I will indeed have adjust my internal speech recognition algorithm for next year (“ROBOT” != “ROWER”)….I learn hiberno-eeenglish from a boooook}

Thanks so much for an amazing event Lisa, Mike, Tim and all the volunteers, speakers, participants, workshop leaders, foundation folks,… My 3yr PiBirthday Marshal’s badge shall become a cherished heirloom to pass from generation to generation!

Unforgettable =o)

David Booth avatar

Thank you so much for inviting us!

The bighak crew from Hitchin Hackspace enjoyed every minute, just sorry we couldn’t make the Saturday as well.

I hope Eben has been found. Surely he must be getting hungry by now?

Spencer Organ avatar

We had a great day on Saturday and want to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped organise and run the day. It was so good to see so many people passionate about the Raspberry Pi.

My blog post and photos are here

Andrew Oakley avatar

Ah, good, I didn’t imagine the gerbils.

Thanks to all involved, for a fantastic event. Annabel, Andy Baker and I handed out over one hundred tutorial leaflets on Saturday as part of our show & tell stall for Cotswold Raspberry Jam.

My photos (includes several more of Eben & Liz cutting the cake):

Video of my GPIO LED birthday candles:

I’ll do a proper how-to write-up of the GPIO LED birthday candles project over the next week or so; will tweet on @cotswoldjam when done. The candles project was very last-minute (Thursday night; drove up on Friday!) but lots of people seemed to have fun blowing out LEDs (by virtue of some flappy cardboard and photoresistors) and making a 1st-generation Raspberry Pi (black audio socket and JTAG pins!) play the non-copyrighted tune “Good Morning To All”.

Andrew Pattison avatar

Fantastic! I am literally laughing out loud at that clip of Eben in Bigtrak. I had the normal sized version of that when I was a kid! (Bigtrak that is, not Eben).

Pig love to you all!

Mike P avatar

What a fab weekend, really enjoyed myself not just looking listening and playing, but getting involved in helping with so many like minded people. Hopefully all the labels I attached to the swag bags have given the many generous sponsors of the entire weekend many tweets. To the PI team it was really great to meet you and especially all the organisers of the weekend. The first persons I came across I recognised was Eben and Liz of course, it was really great to meet these two celebrities. I also came across Amy Mather and her fabulous mum who helped organise the party event among other things. I first saw Amy on the cover of the MagPi then I met her at Manchester Maker faire and this weekend with her fabulous Key Ring with Picture system, well done to Amy and her helpers especially to her family for supporting her. It really was a fab weekend.

Jonathan Pallant avatar

Oh my goodness – my drumming is awful!

Chuffed to have earned myself a new middle name though…

Leo White avatar

Thanks to everyone who organised the event and made it a fun day out!

I’ve got some pictures of Saturday’s event at Mostly just from my end of the hall as the day seemed to be constantly busy and I couldn’t sneak away from my table for very long!

Shame my little BigTraks didn’t get to meet the large one!

Mark Norwood avatar

I had a wonderful time and learnt SOOOOO much!

Big thank you to all the people who gave this noobie teacher advice, help, workshops etc. Absolutely invaluable :)

A special thank you to Pimoroni for emailing me a ticket

Does anyone know where the raffle numbers have been posted?

Thank you again to everyone.
I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that I get selected for Picademy in April :)


W. H. Heydt avatar

So…80% to 90% of the attendees don’t like pizza?

Sounds like it was a lovely bash. Pity it was a bit to far for me to go…from California.

jdb avatar

12 slices per pizza :)

Thomas Stratford avatar

I had a fantastic day on Saturday, I saw lots of cool Raspberry Pi projects and attended some fab workshops. A huge thanks to everyone who helped organise and run the event.

My blog post can be found here

AndyD avatar

Congratulations, it looks like you all had an amazing time.

Rob + kids avatar

Here is my quick run down of Saturday at the party with the kids and picture of all the stuff we came back with.

Derwent avatar

It was good fun and oh my goodness so many free goodies! Let me know if you need someone to film some of the bigger talks next year.

Michael Horne avatar

Thanks Derwent. :-)

Alex Klein avatar

Looks scrumptious, congrats to the whole team…

FrodoNL avatar

Bigtrak, eh? I am still waiting for a Pi-powered C5… :)

Chris Griggs avatar

Just to ask what someone else mentioned, has the raffle been drawn and if so where were the results published.
Fab weekend by the way, I just hope my good lady never finds out how much I spent, at the moment I’m claiming it all came out of a goodie bag!

Michael Horne avatar

The raffle has been drawn and we’re currently collating it into an email to all ticket holders and also it will be posted onto this blog. :-)

Dave Hingley avatar

Had a blast this weekend. any chance of birthday events in the future? 5th 7th 10th birthday?

jdb avatar

Raspberry Pi’s π’th birthday is on the 20th of April.

If we started having birthdays on the basis of mathematical constants then things would get a bit weird…

Paul avatar

I was pleased to be part of this success packing swag bags and running errons. But still got to tweet some great pictures. Well done to everyone involved including the many many people who donated their time to pack a few swag bags to the ones spending all day packing them. Thank you to all the sponsors who donated stuff to, this party is one for the photo album.

Liz Upton avatar

Thank you Paul – the volunteers were incredible!

meltwater avatar

Glad to see the weekend was a success!

Happy Birthday to the Rpi…what an awesome roller coaster ride it has been!

Can’t even begin to imagine what the 10 year anniversary would look like.

James Hughes avatar

I’d just like to apology to a young lad called Andrew, who had trouble keeping up in the Introduction to Linux workshop and got a bit upset – Andrew, if you are reading, you got on FINE, after only a minute of help, so WELL DONE!

I hope everyone who came along enjoyed it – it’s a bit difficult targeting a workshop where the audience ages ranges from 6 to 66!

Sam avatar

Thanks for a great day Saturday!! What happened with the raffle?

Michael Horne avatar

Raffle draw has happened. Email going out to all attendees this evening. Will be on the blog too. :-)

Ian Wilkinson avatar


I’ve not received an e-mail, and I can’t see it on the blog.

Am I just being unobservant or has this failed to be sent/published?

Gordon avatar

A massive thank you to everyone involved in putting the party together. We had a blast on our stand and met some great people throughout the event, some to become great friends I hope. It was also a big surprise to find an ex-colleague on the neighbouring stand! Hadn’t seen him for 18years, small World.

Mike Cook avatar

Just put some 3D anaglyphs up on so break out your Red green ( cyan ) glasses out if you have them.

Great time, great Ale, great people. Thanks.

Łukasz avatar

<3 we are all like a big familly Happy Birthday, Happy Birtday to You :)

Stephen avatar

Fantastic evening, thx to all who organised it, you did a great job.

Andy Proctor avatar

Brilliant weekend and thanks for letting me tell my story on the Saturday. I’m now well and truly hooked on the community and grateful for the support I received on both days – and the wonderful case!

The Bar Code Scanning Project is well under-way

Jim avatar

Thanks for hosting this fun filled event. Pleasure meeting everyone we’ve gotten to know by blog, email, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Happy 3rd Birthday and many more! I’d love to come back anytime. Cambridge is really a charming place to visit.

Dave Jones avatar

Just to add my (belated) thanks to all the organizers – it was an excellent day, and a wonderful opportunity to meet everyone that I’d hitherto only known through the interwebs! Sorry I could only be there on the Saturday, but I’m sure there’ll be more birthdays in the future!

Now, back to the picamera backlog :)

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