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Eepy Birds rock Maker Faire, fire ants attack

If there's one thing people love, it's watching the Eepy Birds guys put on their Diet Coke and Mentos fountain show.

Stephen Voltz, one-half of the team known as Eepy Bird, loads its special Mentos delivery system caps onto Diet Coke bottles in preparation for their show at Maker Faire in Austin. Eepy Bird is known for its synchronized fountains from mixing Coke with Mentos. Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks

AUSTIN, TEXAS--Who doesn't like watching the chemical reaction that happens when Mentos come in contact with Diet Coke?

Well, I can't prove that everyone in attendance at Maker Faire here Saturday loves the resulting fountains of soda, but several hundred people surely did.

That much was evident by the giant crowd that gathered for the show put on by Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe, perhaps better known as Eepy Bird, who clustered 128 Diet Coke bottles and hundreds of Mentos and put on one heck of an exhibition.

The two have now been doing their show all over the world, and I've seen it before, at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., last May. But that time, I was far behind the crowd, and couldn't see it that well.

This time, I was right in front and got a terrific view of the proceedings.

I had also been able to go behind their barrier a couple hours before their show to watch them set it up. That means, in part, loading a custom Mento delivery system for each and every Diet Coke bottle. It's painstaking work, but Voltz and Grobe seem to enjoy it. Or at least the fame.

One of the downsides, for me at least, of being up front, was that I got to find out what happens when you put your arm directly into a nest of fire ants. Several dozen stinging bites later, I knew to watch where I put my limbs the next time I'm in Texas.

With the mixture of Mentos to Diet Coke, sticky geysers shoot in the air to the roar of an adoring audience at Maker Faire Austin. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

But despite the pain and embarrassment of falling prey to a whole lot of insects, I was very happy to be able to see the show from up front.

These guys are such showmen, and the crowd ate it up, cheering wildly each time a new row of bottles was set off, or made a row do crazy geometric patterns, or created back-and-forth waves.

In all, the show took only a couple minutes, and despite my being up front, I did not get soaked with Diet Coke. Probably all the better for the ants. More sticky soda goodness for them.