Third annual RCBI Makes Festival coming to Memorial Student Center plaza

The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing’s annual West Virginia Makes Festival will take place Oct. 7 on Marshall University’s Huntington campus.

The third-annual festival will feature a design challenge, where participants will be awarded multiple cash prizes. The “Best of Show” grand prize is $1,000.

Artists and engineers of all ages may enter the competition. Registration should be completed online by Sept. 30.

Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO, said this festival celebrates innovative people in the community.

“Our festival celebrates makers,” Weber said. “It taps into the inventive community of entrepreneurs and innovators so they can interact with like-minded makers.”

Bill Woodrum, project coordinator/agricultural innovations with RCBI, said college students are the kind of makers who can see the business side of their crafts.

“We’re seeing kind of an awakening that more and more people have a quick route to market with their ideas,” Woodrum said. “College students seem to get that maybe they want to take more control of their own destiny, making and creating products, kind of going into business for themselves.”

Mike Friel, RCBI public information specialist, said universities are epicenters of creative thought and action.

“Universities are centers of innovation and entrepreneurship and creating of all sorts,” Friel said. “We wanted to play off that energy that exists and get all these makers on campus where a lot of innovation takes place.”

Woodrum said this event also displays the kind of resource RCBI can be for Marshall students.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for students to come and realize the resource that RCBI can be in helping you get to market with a product, to help you develop an idea,” Woodrum said. “We just want to be supportive and engaged with the university.”

The event will also feature 3D printing activities, local artisans, special exhibits and performance art.

The festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Memorial Student Center plaza and is free to the public.

Nancy Peyton can be contacted at [email protected]