Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival

Renaissance Weirton Corp. Launches the Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival

Celebrating the skills gained and materials crafted during the peak of manufacturing in Northern West Virginia, the Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival will launch on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Weirton Event Center in the heart of downtown, showcasing art created using metal, clay, glass and re-purposed scrap.

The new festival, sponsored by the nonprofit Renaissance Weirton Corp., was named by Mayor Harold Miller in honor of the No. 5 Gate on Main Street, an employee gate located in front of Weirton Steel’s Strip Steel operation.

“Materials came in the Strip Steel operation behind the No. 5 Gate were transformed into cold rolled, hot rolled and rolled coils for galvanized steel,” Miller said. “Employees entered through Gate 5 and learned valuable skills that many of them still use today, but in new and interesting ways. A festival that honors the materials and skills used in manufacturing is a way to honor our history and our families’ heritage.”

Created as a heritage festival for our manufacturing town, the Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival is working with partners like the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, the Mary H. Weir Library and Summit Art Gallery at the Top of WV CVB, to honor the many facets of our industrial history.

The mission of the festival is to support Weirton’s revitalization as an industrial, and now, cultural, powerhouse, transforming the pain of lost jobs and wages into pride for hard work and a hope for a new manufacturing era ahead. The skills acquired by decades of workers have remained and flourished, as artisans and craftsmen continued to bend metal, weld scrap, and shape clay resulting in unique furniture, jewelry, and pottery.

Having only celebrated its 70th anniversary as a City, Weirton does not have the legacy of a Civil War battlefield or the lore and mystery of New Orleans. Instead, this steel town has the industrial heritage of pouring steel to build skyscrapers and battleships; to fire the glass for tables of governors; and to create a colorful line of clay plates known as “Fiestaware” that spread from Hancock County throughout the world. In fact, one of the last pieces of coil rolled off the line in the mid-1990s was used to rebuild one of the World Trade Center towers. This history and heritage is one that the Weirton community must not forget. 

Activities on Oct. 20 will include a live metal sculpture demonstration, a Fiestaware mosaic that the public can help complete, a Steampunk Fashion Show, the family-friendly Gr8 Gate 5 Puzzle Hunt, the Tin Man 5K Run/Walk, rock and heavy metal music performances, and public educational events. The full-day festival will also include food vendors and local artists, many of whom will showcase and sell their work for the first time at this community-wide event. 

 The City of Weirton and Renaissance Weirton Corporation are grateful for the early partnerships that have already formed to make this first annual Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival a reality. Partners include: 

❖ The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, host of the Mill Badge Competition, #rustbeltbeauty art show, and Badge Holders Reception;

❖ EscapeWorks, which has created and donated the Gr8 Gate 5 Puzzle Hunt, an interactive mystery game that will allow families to explore the festival and downtown, all while competing for a grant prize;

 ❖ The Mobile Sculpture Group, which will be working on site to weld a metal sculpture from industrial scrap metal. 

 ❖ Local artist Elaine Klar, who will invite the public to help her transform Cove Commons, a downtown pocket park, into the home of a with a 40-foot mosaic comprised of “Fiestaware” pieces;

 ❖ Striplight Community Theatre, whose costume designer Christine DelGuzzi, designed and sewed the outfits for in the Steam Punk Fashion Show, and Hancock County haberdasher Brandy Lee Dorsch who has created original hats for the steampunk event;

❖ The Mary H. Weir Library, which will educate children about local history though craft sculpture and offer photo ops in safety gear, and, 

❖ Summit Art Gallery, which will hold a steampunk-themed fine art show in support of the festival.

In addition to the volunteer event partners, metal, clay, glass and scrap vendors from throughout the region will display and sell their wares, and rock and metal bands will perform throughout the day, with KISS heavy metal tribute band, STRUTTER, heading the event from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

A full schedule and program of events will be posted in the two weeks prior to the festival.

For more information, please like the Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival on Facebook or contact Festival Chair Alecia Ford at weirton.arts@gmail.com.

If you would like more information about the festival - whether you are a vendor, artist or volunteer - please follow us on our  Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival Facebook Page or Alecia Ford at weirton.arts@gmail.com 

Vendor Applications

Gate 5 - Art/Craft Vendor Packet

Gate 5 - Food Vendor Packet

Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival - Mill Badge Sculpture Competition 

Mill Badge Sculpture Competition Prospectus

Mill Badge Registration

Tin Man 5K Run/Walk 

Tin Man 5K Run/Walk Registration