Design festival kicks off its seventh year

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — This month kicks off a festival in Huntington which has been a staple for local innovators for seven years now.

The annual West Virginia Makes Festival is taking place all month in Huntington, but like everything else this year, just a little bit differently.

Instead of a one day affair, this year’s version is completely online, and features virtual workshops, master classes—and towards the end of the month—a competition which could mean big prizes.

A time-lapse demonstration of an object being 3-D printed. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“We feel like when we give our makers, and young people in particular in West Virginia, advanced tools to pull off outcomes, that this is an investment in a remarkable future for the people of Appalachia.” 

Deacon Stone, Maker Programs coordinator, Robert C. Byrd Institute

The festival culminates at the end of the month when the victors of the design challenge are announced.

“They can win cash prizes, they can win grant dollars for the development of their ideas by our own team of engineers and advanced equipment, over 20 million dollars of equipment available.” 

Deacon Stone, Maker Programs coordinator, Robert C. Byrd Institute

Or, you could even win your own 3-D printing pack—and one for the school of your choice to boot.

The West Virginia Makes Festival is aimed at not only creating new and innovative solutions to problems, but to give younger generations of Appalachia a taste of the difference they can make in the world.

“You know, I think a lot of kids don’t understand where things come from, how they’re made, and that kind of thing, and this lets them dig into that, and maybe with a mentor or a helper, actually learn where things come from.” 

Anthony Wheeler, president of Paris Signs and a past winner of the design contest
Anthony Wheeler (pictured) explains what he plans on entering into the competition this year. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Anthony Wheeler and his sons are actually past winners of this design contest. He says not only does it expose people to new and interesting innovations, but it can have positive real world implications.

“The product we had last year is our letter system, and we sell it online and it’s actually a huge product. I mean, it’s a big benefit to our local business here. To be able to sell online, and we sell nationwide and actually some internationally with that product.” 

Anthony Wheeler, president of Paris Signs and a past winner of the design contest

And this year, it’s open to entries across the tri-state, for budding ‘makers’ to show their stuff.

“We have opened the borders and we welcome folks from school systems and from the bordering states around West Virginia as well.” 

Deacon Stone, Maker Programs coordinator, Robert C. Byrd Institute
Deacon Stone (pictured) holds the finished object up to the time-lapse of it’s creation. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“It’s the one time you get to showcase what you’re able to do.” 

Anthony Wheeler, president of Paris Signs and a past winner of the design contest

For details on the various events coming up and how to enter the competition, visit this website.

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