September 30, 2014

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Creativity on a roll at Avon Duct Tape Festival

AVON — It was never supposed to be meant as a challenge.

When ShurTech Brands, an Avon corporation, first developed and began manufacturing duct tape at its plant on Just Imagine Drive, it did not come with a motto of ‘What can you do with duct tape?’ Yet, at this year’s ninth annual Duct Tape Festival that question was answered in a variety of ways.

At Veterans Memorial Park, men and women walked around donned in duct-tape clothes, including hats and shoes. There were duct tape hair accessories and purses. Entire floats complete with life-sized animal sculptures were constructed with duct tape and put on the road during Saturday morning’s parade.

What can you do with duct tape?

Well, the answer is anything and everything.

“It’s really about using your imagination,” said 34-year-old Bianca Brown.

Brown, of Lorain, let her imagination lead her to make a blue-and-pink plaid bag in an intricate design. It took her roughly an hour to make and was a design that she said just came to her as she began folding large pieces of tape sticky side to sticky side.

Brown came to the free festival, which runs through today, with her two sons. It was the second year in a row she has attended. Last year, Brown said she left the festival with several rolls of the versatile duct tape in hand and went to the library in search of books on how to make different items.

“This year, I’m not sure what I will make after I leave here,” she said with a laugh.

Many of the duct tape items on display Saturday were too labor-intensive to be completed on-site.

Rob Houk, 18, a recent graduate of Avon Lake High School, and his date, Ginger Doll, 17, said it took them 88 hours to complete the purple-and-chrome duct-tape outfits they wore to the festival. The outfits were first worn at Houk’s prom and are contenders in this year’s national Stuck at Prom contest, which challenges high school students to make prom attire out of duct tape for a chance to win scholarships and prizes.

Houk’s and Doll’s complete outfits can be viewed at stuckatprom.com. Voting starts Monday.

Both said making the outfits — a dress and accessories for Doll and complete tuxedo for Houk — was a lot of fun, but also hard work.

“I would say we worked on it over two months,” Houk said.

“And we used a combined 14 rolls of duct tape,” Doll said. “We learned how to be seamstresses but used duct tape as our fabric.”

Doll said friends thought the outfits were very cool and creative, and the pair was all smiles when the official prom photo was snapped.

Others who wore duct tape clothing Saturday didn’t do it for scholarships or bragging rights.

It was just fun.

Twins Kiara and Brianna Clark, 10, said they were introduced to duct tape by a friend and have not stopped making things. Each had on a different color dress to show off their talent.

“We have made wallets, purses, roses, shirts, skirts, shoes and doll dresses,” Kiara said.

“But I still want to see if I can make shoes,” Brianna added.

To keep up with their expensive duct tape habit — rolls can run between $5 and $10 depending on the design — the Clark sisters said they devised an ingenious plan that recently netted them about 10 rolls of duct tape each.

“We told our friends to bring it instead of birthday presents and we just make things all during the party,” Kiara said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.