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Blenko Glass Company to host Festival of Glass 2024

West Virginia Press Association

MILTON, W.Va. – Blenko Glass Company has announced its 2024 Festival of Glass, an annual public event that celebrates West Virginia’s glassmaking heritage, at its factory in Milton, W.Va. on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6, 2024. Blenko invites the public out to witness and learn about handmade glass products and traditional glassblowing methods. The company is offering free on-the-hour tours of the factory facilities for guests aged 14+, as well as plenty of opportunities to watch cool glass being made from the Observation Deck on the hot shop floor.

Blow your own water bottle at Festival of Glass 2024

Each year, Blenko reproduces a historical design to celebrate 20th century glass. This year, Blenko is reproducing a design from one of its own cherished designers – Don Shepherd – from his glass studio practice before joining Blenko. The DAS Glass America ‘Moonscape’ Vase is a 14-15 inch tall freeform, triangular vase made with a unique, three-piece open-air mould. The surface of the glass picks up Shepherd’s hand-sculpted and -crafted moon craters and ridges: it is a stunning piece of contemporary glass design and will be featured online in Hay, a light golden amber color. 

Festival Lift Off Decanter with Ruby stopper

The centerpiece of the Festival’s wares is the Festival Lift Off Decanter. Invoking classic mid-century motifs, the Crystal decanter with a straight optic calls to mind the lift off cloud from the cheekily nostalgic Rocket stopper, available online with a Ruby stopper. The decanter stopper is inspired by the V2 rocket and mid-century space age designs as much as by the toys that inspired a generation to dream of going into space. Blenko will also be selling a new edition of designer emeritus Matt Carter’s 9711 Vase for exclusive purchase at the Visitors Center and are encouraged to watch Carter lead a demonstration shop on the factory floor. 

The Festival has several classes and experiences, tickets for which went on sale on March 11, 2024 – although there are still several seats available in a range of our experiences, from blowing your own 384 Water Bottle, to customizing and personalizing an etched Water Bottle or Mushroom Lamp, to making a nightlight!

Tickets are also available for purchase for the debut fundraising event for the newly incorporated non-profit Blenko Glass Foundation, whose purpose is to preserve and fortify West Virginia’s storied glassmaking heritage through conservation, education, and active community engagement. Tickets to the Foundation’s Meet The Designers Evening include food and drink and a chance to talk to Blenko designers past and present, and a chance at after-hours shopping. 

Dave Osburn

The gift shop at the factory’s Visitor Center in Milton will feature glass signings by President John Blenko on Friday and Saturday, and will also feature variant colorways in the Festival designs, as well as Festival posters, t-shirts, suncatchers, and all of the colorful glass designs that make Blenko “the most colorful name in glass.”

Come out and enjoy food trucks and free glassblowing demonstrations, and a beautiful weekend exploring the factory and its historical grounds! Putnam County Provisions will be on hand both days for coffee, smoothies, teas, and snacks, and on Saturday, enjoy some of the area’s finest and most in-demand food trucks – lobster rolls from Lobster TrappN, pizza from Viper Wood Fired Pizza, and paletas (popsicles) from Frios. 

The two-day event will end on Saturday evening on 7-10pm with a special free concert event by Huntington’s own Grown Ass Folks on the shores of its small lake in the Dalle Barn. This will be an unforgettable show set in a charismatic location! Grown Ass Folks is an innovative native jazz/funk/soul DJ with a penchant for immersive experiences and great vibes. The end of the Festival party will be a perfect opportunity to enjoy the history, the colors, and the camaraderie that make Blenko glass so wonderful and collectible. 

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