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Town Shoots For Tacky World Record In Duck Tape Festival

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Get ready for the 11th Annual Duck Tape Festival, sponsored by the company that makes duct tape. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Mel Rainey of Elyria High School about creatively using the sticky stuff.


This weekend, the 11 annual Duct Tape Festival in Avon, Ohio, where Duct Tape - which is a brand of duct, with a T, tape - is manufactured. The festival is held to celebrate and spotlight just about anything you can make with duct tape, and what you can make may surprise you. We're going to go now to Mel Rainey, who is an art teacher at Elyria High School in Avon, Ohio. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Rainey.

MEL RAINEY: No problem - any time.

SIMON: So your students have been building a float for five months?

RAINEY: Yes. The float this year has 12 different aliens of different varieties flying in a giant spaceship around a 13-foot-tall, three-dimensional Planet Duct Tape.

SIMON: (Laughing) All out of duct tape?

RAINEY: All out of duct tape. It's got some other stuff stuffed inside to help support it, but the entire sculpture of the float has over six layers of duct tape over every piece.

SIMON: Now, Mr. Rainey, I realize that art can be made of anything, but I - so is there, like, a duct tape equivalent of Rembrandt's "The Night Watch"?

RAINEY: Oh, yeah.

SIMON: (Laughing) What is it?

RAINEY: Oh, yeah.


RAINEY: Well, there is one of "The Night Watch," and if you were to Google artwork done by duct tape, you would find so many pieces that - it's exploded over the past couple years - the versatility of the tape.

SIMON: Does it get stuck everywhere when you're trying to work with it?

RAINEY: Oh, yes, it gets a little frustrating at times, especially when you're, like - final stages of putting something together and the tape all bunches up.

SIMON: And there's supposed to be some kind of, like, prom this year, I gather?

RAINEY: There's actually a prom every year. It's a contest where they sponsor scholarship for students. And any student can make a prom dress out of duct tape, and I believe it's a requirement to go as a couple. So the prom dates both have to - either a tuxedo and dress or vice versa or both - but the pair of them have to go in a duct taped ensemble.

SIMON: You're a high school teacher so let me ask this question very carefully. The prom couple wearing duct tape - even a simple kiss good night would be filled with potential hazard, wouldn't it?

RAINEY: Very possibly, yes it is. Not only would they possibly be stuck together for the rest the night - which hopefully, you know, you go to prom, you like the person...

SIMON: Yeah.

RAINEY: ...But one interesting fact about the tape is, the more you work with it, the more it collects acetic charge so literally you could see sparks fly.

SIMON: (Laughing) Mel Rainy is an art teacher - a funny art teacher, they're the best kind - at Elyria High School in Avon, Ohio. He's participating in the 11 annual Duct Tape Festival. Thanks so much, Mr. Rainey.

RAINEY: No problem. My pleasure.

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