The West Virginia Makes Festival, the Robert C. Byrd Institute’s (RCBI) annual statewide celebration of ingenuity and creativity, returns for the seventh year with a month of virtual making that features a Design Challenge and weekly Master Maker classes and events.

Design Challenge competitors must create unique inventions that display innovation or overcome a specific challenge then explain their creations and the making process in a video that is three minutes or less. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Oct. 20, and winners will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 27, during a live online event at wvmakes.com/live.

Makers of all ages are eligible for several prizes that include technical assistance from RCBI, cash awards, and a desktop 3D printer. There is no cost to enter.

“At RCBI, we witness the creativity and ingenuity of West Virginians every day,” director & CEO Charlotte Weber said. “Our Design Challenge is a way for us to honor and recognize the talents of these makers.”

Maker Monday events kick off Oct. 12 with Heritage Farm Museum & Village: Living the Maker Life! Join the live online event to learn about and see the types of making that are underway at the farm, explore how things were made in the mid-19th century, and gain an understanding of the resourcefulness of Appalachian makers over the years.

Next up is the Master Maker Class 2D Design & Laser Cutting: Thinking Outside the Box (Hands-on!) on Oct. 19. Learn to use free, open-source software to create digital designs and turn them into laser-cut creations. The class also will include an overview of engineering-level design software, processes, and equipment. Each participant will have the chance to create a custom design that will be laser cut at RCBI for them to keep. The cost is $25 per person.

Oct. 26 features the event Toyota: Artificial Intelligence and the Frontiers of Manufacturing with AI. Learn how this automotive titan is using AI and other emerging technologies to change the very face of manufacturing in the United States.

To register for the Design Challenge or any of the maker classes and events, visit wvmakes.com/wv-makes-festival. For more information contact RCBI’s Deacon Stone at dstone@rcbi.org or 304.781.1659.

The West Virginia Makes Festival is made possible through the support of sponsors Edward Tucker Architects, the Marshall University Research Corporation, and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.