KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville is hosting its fifth annual Maker City Summit Saturday and Sunday. Instead of an in-person event, it's all online this year.
The event is aimed at teaching creators how to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Usually, there's a large room with filled tables at the Maker City Summit, but in 2020 the room is online, with virtual tables and chairs.
The City of Knoxville and its Makers Council didn't cancel the event because they knew creators needed it. Content Strategist and Copywriter Mark Alewine participated in the summit and said he was grateful Knoxville was working to support creators.
"The fact that Knoxville was committed to making sure this event happened, it was huge because they're saying, 'we're gonna support you all, we've got your back and we're gonna make sure that when people look back on this time as when everything changed, we're gonna be out front,'" Alewine said.
Events like these give creators the chance to mingle and remind them they're not alone.
"The Maker City Summit is designed to provide you with practical maker business know-how, offer dialogue about growing a successful maker business, and leave you full of inspiration so you’ll be ready to accomplish your next business milestone," the event's website said.
"The encouragement is, this is one of the few times in life when we really are all in this together," Alewine said.
A variety of speakers were able to log on and share their speeches through the screen. They covered a variety of topics, including how to avoid burnout and how to utilize social media.
Attendees are also able to ask the keynote speakers questions, which has never been done before.
Experts like Ryan-Ashley Anderson with JTV are even offering virtual one-on-one sessions.
"There's actually a ton more content and its more accessible to everybody, which I think is so key because not everyone is mobile," Anderson said.
She is pushing the importance of embracing the digital age during a time when the world is more online than ever.
"I know many makers used to use things like craft fairs and trunk shows and special events to actually drive traffic to their digital platforms, and now we're kind of relying 1000% on the digital platform," Anderson said.
It's all to encourage, educate and inspire every kind of creator.
Tickets are still available for Sunday's session. Creators can head over to themakercity.org/summit to get yours.