Welcome to the Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fairs

Important Dates & Times

Welcome to the 2022 Virtual K-12 Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair 

Florida Gulf Coast Affiliate of The Henry Ford Invention Convention Worldwide            

Important Dates    

January 26th             Final date for project video & paperwork submission

February 5th -12th     Round One Judging Video & Paperwork

February 19th            Limited Virtual Conference Interviews (See below)

March  TBA               Virtual Awards Program

Great to have you onboard!  This is the second time in the history of the Fair, students will be competing virtually for the opportunity to move on to the national and international stage. Last year, twenty-one students from this affiliate competed nationally, two globally with one placing in the top 16 worldwide! 

While this school year is still being conducted in the face of the pandemic, your feedback regarding transition of project information and clarity of instructions are a priority to us. Together, we can all benefit from timely communications as regional guidelines evolve to address the situation.

For information pertaining to your role, click on the Student’s, Teacher’s, or Judge’s Main.

Our mutual goals are to help participants realize their best efforts and experience first hand what the invention process can mean for their futures. To give you inspiration, we include motivating excerpts from emails shared by the two global participants.


“The entire experience was amazing from overcoming challenges, to broadening my horizons, letting me see the capability of others my age as well as my potential future with the innovations!  . . . The experience is indescribable.” Elle Frey, global contestant.


“I would encourage anyone capable of participating to do so. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from this experience. . . .  It was also uplifting to be in a community with people who want to help change the world.”   A global judge wrote me, "Never give up . . . Regardless of the outcome of the competition, try and work hard towards your goal and then you will be able to accomplish great things. It is not about winning, but about the value you gain and provide through your invention."    Serena Kasai-Hazekamp, global award recipient.




Welcome Students!

Important Dates

  • Student registration immediately follows selection of school finalists
  • January 26th – Deadline for uploading Student paperwork and video
  • February 5th -12th – Judging of Paperwork and Video
  • February 19th - Limited Virtual Conference Interviews (See below)
  • Awards Program Early March TBA


Congratulations on advancing to the Regional Competition! You are now eligible to compete for scholarships, special awards, and grade level trophies and prizes.  

Although no problems have been reported over the history of this competition, the issue of protecting your invention from use without your permission is a possibility.  There are steps to take to help protect your 'intellectual property'. 

Please take time to review the Disclaimer regarding exhibiting your invention in public.  Use this link:     Disclaimer                                                                                                

Step-by-Step Snapshot to Register and Upload Student Files:



January 26th is the final date adjustments may be made to any of the files on your designated zFairs Site.  Please verify you have provided all the digital files and your Video Presentation with a working link. This should include:

Entry ID: Division E,M,H/Your Grade/Entry #  (eg:  E GK-5 #  M G6-8 #  H G9-12 # )                                 

(Team entries: Use the same Entry ID)       

  • Student Name; Grade; Invention Title     
  • Photos, Paperwork or Links which contain the following: 
    1. *Summary/Abstract: In a paragraph or two, describe what are you most proud of about your invention (its purpose and impact).  Explain what you know about inventing now that you did not know when you started! (*new 2022 requirement for 4th-12th grades)
    2. Display: Digital or Photo(s) of your Physical Display
    3. Logbook: This tells everything about your invention experience!
    4. 4-6 Minute non-edited Video Presentation.
      • YouTube videos work best on the zFairs site.                                            
      • Refer to the Video Process link located on:                                             Creating an Inventors Fair Presentation - EdisonFairs.org   
    5. Optional Photos: Model, prototype, or detailed illustration

Round Two Judging will only be scheduled for tie breakers. Most student winners will not require Round Two Judging. If and only if this becomes necessary, you will be contacted by Wednesday, February 16th with further instructions.  A specific time will be scheduled on Saturday, February 19th.   

If you cannot provide a personal email (not your student email) please provide a parent email for timely communications pertaining to missing information or awards.



Welcome Teachers 

Important Dates

  • October 1st - School and teacher registration to begin
  • Student registration follows selection of school finalists
  • January 26th - Student paperwork and video uploading closes
  • February 5th -12th – Judging of Paperwork and Video
  • February 19th - Limited Virtual Interviews for Ties Only
  • Awards Program Early March TBA


National and global participation brought to light best practices for logbook and video presentations. It will be helpful to review updated logbook guidelines to enable students to make the most of this opportunity.

Please avoid prompting students with questions during videos. Although allowed in 2021, judges found prompting of students less advantageous. Consider practicing using the display board to guide a presentation. For regionals, K-3rd graders have the option of be prompted. No students were prompted at national or global events.

This year’s transfer of paperwork and video should run smoother and less time consuming than 2021.  Responses to the 2021 Teacher Survey were most appreciated. 

If you are new to the program, contact your Regional Coordinator(s) if you have questions or need support.

Important Steps to Take for Regional Entries: (Snapshot Review)


Review of Key Points:

  • Verify on the edisonfairs.org website an accounting of your regional student participants and their student folders.
  • Reregister each regional student participant on the zFairs Thomas A. Edison Regional Inventors Fairs website.
  • Have the student edit his or her email contact. Parent emails are welcomed and can help facilitate more timely communication. This will allow for direct communications to:
      • inform a participant of missing files or video problems
      • schedule a Video Conference.
      • follow up instructions for scholarships and awards.  
  • Verify the logbook, display, video and selected photos are transferred over to the zFairs student folder.  
    • Prepare written files in pdf. format
    • To upload student files bring up the Student Entry List.
    • Click on the student entry and a drop down list appears.
    • Select Upload File and the choose the file contents.
    • Upload files as .pdf
    • To upload Video from Google, enable 'share' then copy/paste the URL.  
      • Go to zFairs Student's file, click on edit and paste the URL in the Entry Video box in the right column. 
      • To verify the upload, open 'Judging', click on 'Judging', select the student, click on 'Video'.
      • If the Video does not appear, scroll down to click on other options. The Video should open.
    • Repeat to transfer all appropriately titled files and photos.
    • Double check all files have been properly downloaded.
    • Reassure students the Optional Files are not required for 2021.  Summary/Abstract can help the student recognize key points that can be helpful in narrating the video presentation. 
  • Share the Entry ID with the Student in case they wish to make edits up until January 29th.
  • Share access instructions: 
    • using the Regional Competition link on www.edisonfairs.org
    • Going to www.zFairs.com, top right of the screen "Find Your Fair" then type "thomas" in the Search Box!  Select the Inventors Fair not Science & Engineering Fair!
    • Bookmark this site.

Thank you!  Your feedback is most welcome. 


Important Dates

  • October 1st Registration Opens - Early registration is appreciated
  • January 30th – access to an online ‘judging review’ video  
  • February 5th -12th – Judging of Paperwork and Video
  • February 19th - Limited Virtual Interviews for Ties
  • Awards Program Early March TBA

For easy access bookmark: https://fl-rif.zfairs.com/?f=3d80efb7-e4a8-4439-9360-d98dd093782f

Many of you experienced our first Virtual Competition this past year. All data from last year’s event has been archived including your registration. Please re-register. You will be prompted with a zFairs generated username.  Your password preference can then be added. New judges can review the registration guidelines provided below.

Much was learned from regional, national and global virtual competitions. Best practices for student information are shared below. For the record, we can be very proud of our Florida Gulf Coast affiliation.

  1.  The student updates should help to simplify viewing of project information.
  2. Logbook submissions will be organized for easier viewing.
  3. The addition of a brief Abstract/Summary will provide more insight up front.
  4. Videos were at times challenging to view on several levels.
    1. The tools to format and upload them have been improved.
    2. Q & A videos are being discouraged except for special circumstances.
    3. Demonstrating or explaining models/prototypes is a priority.
  5. Algorithms tallying judges scores perform best with a minimum of 5 score sheets for each project.

Judging Review

A ZOOM recording will be made available SundayJanuary 30th                by e-mail to all registered judges.


The remaining information is for first timers or those who wish a review to help with registration.

There are some impressive benefits to being able to judge on your own schedule 24/7 from almost any location where you have internet connectivity on a smart phone, lap top, or desk top computer.

Each student inventor will have his or her own Exhibit Page.  Here you will learn about the student and details of the invention.  Links will allow you to access everything you normally experience in an exhibit hall including a 4 to 6minute presentation by each inventor.  A score sheet is provided, too.

The Score Sheets have been modified to reflect the national competition rubric. There are three main categories with a total of ten subcategories, each valued at a maximum of ten points. A perfect score of 100 would reflect an extraordinary accomplishment!!!   

The majority of entries at the REGIONAL level will score in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Projects scoring in the high 80’s and 90’s may undergo a second judging if it is determined additional expertise in areas of STEM research or the Invention Process is necessary for a final evaluation and selection of winners.  

Please select each type of judging you wish to participate in when you register or edit your choice(s) up to January 30th.


***Round One “General” Judge     (Level One)                   

Timeline: Saturday, February 5th to Saturday, February 12th

Process:  You are asked to judge 12 or more entries at your convenience. Ideally, each entry will be  judged five (5) times for best scoring results . Once the appropriate number has been reached, the entry will no longer appear on the list to be judged.  This will enable all entries to have a chance to be judged.

Time allowing, judge early in the week to help administrators stay ahead of schedule just in case any hiccups pop up.  After all, this is a new experience for all of us!

In Summary: Round One Judges 

  • Judging from home or office to fit your schedule over a several day period.
  • Pre-recorded 4-6 minute Video Presentation (No live interaction with students) 
  • Log Book - a digital or downloaded physical copy
  • Digital display board or photo of a physical display, and photos or illustrations of the prototype.     

 ***Special Award Donor Judge(s)       

Timeline:  Sunday, February 5th to Saturday, February 19th

Process:  Donors are welcome to have  DOCTogether Video Conferences scheduled to select the student recipient of the award.  Conferencing will be demonstrated in advance of the competition. 

Special Awards Donors are welcome to serve as First or Second Level Judges in addition to fulfilling the primary role of a Donor. 

Fair administrators will try to provide projects that best meet the award criteria. This does not limit the opportunity for the donor to expand the search.


***Round Two “Expert” Judge         (Level Two)

(You are welcome to serve as a Round One judge, too! To do this you must check off the registration box for both First and Second Round judging.)

Timeline:  Saturday, February 20th

Process:  Live video interviews up to 15 minutes in duration with up to three (3) judges on the interview.  A Team Leader will record the consensus of the group in selecting  1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention grade winners

DOCTogether Video Connections will allow for smooth Video Conferencing. This will be demonstrated in advance of the competition. 

  • Video conferencing will be used to interview a limited number of participants whose scores are too close to call a winner.
  • Second Level judges may help select certain Special Award Winners including students who will attend the 2021 Henry Ford National Invention Convention. 



Website Access Instructions: 

Easiest Access: Bookmark https://fl-rif.zfairs.com/?f=3d80efb7-e4a8-4439-9360-d98dd093782f

Option Two:  Use the Regional Competition link on www.edisonfairs.org


2022 Virtual Inventors Fair

Scroll down to the Inventors Fair column in the middle of the screen and select:


Option Three: Go to www.zFairs.com , top right of the screen "Find Your Fair" then type "thomas" in the Search Box!  Select the Inventors Fair not Science & Engineering Fair!


Welcome Volunteers

We do not yet fully realize if, when or how volunteer positions will be required.  Comfortable serving as a moderator for online conferencing? Have a public relationships background?  Interested in fundraising. Good with media releases. Reach out directly to the adminstrators. Go to edisonfairs.org for additional contact information. 

Should you wish to consider volunteering as a Round One (First Level) Judge and do not have any restrictions to do so, please join in on the inspiration and excitement that comes with learning what is on the minds of our youth and how they are contributing to real solutions!  

Fairness in judging is very important. Any hint of favoritism must be avoided. If you have a child or friends of your child competing; if you have any connections with competitors that might appear as a conflict of interest, please refrain from signing up as a judge and check back about volunteering.   On behalf of the TAERSIF Committee, thank you for your understanding.  




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