Area innovators 'Race' to find alternate energy

2012-08-23T14:30:00Z Area innovators 'Race' to find alternate energyBy Tim Shellberg Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 23, 2012 2:30 pm  • 

Bill Halliar, founder of the Alternate Power Initiative Advisory Board, said Whiting is the ideal locale to host his annual "Race for the Future."

"Whiting is the home of the practical manufacturing of gasoline," he said. "The first still was made that made the making of gasoline practical, and it actually introduced the automobile. If that was the case, I figured 'Why not have Whiting be the place for the next age of transportation to be introduced as well?'"

Running Aug. 25 throughout downtown Whiting and a highlight of the city's annual "For the Love of Art Festival," Halliar and the Alternate Power initiative are staging their third "Race" this year.

Halliar formed both the Initiative and the "Race" to inspire area innovators young and old to create and operate vehicles using alternative energies. Past races have included vehicles using air and steam as their power source. Participants drive their vehicles on a five-mile stretch in Whiting and must obey all traffic laws.

For this year's "Race," Halliar opened up the challenge nationally, advertising in Inventors Digest and connecting with the "maker movement," a likeminded organization that encourages invention and has spawned "Maker Faires" throughout the country.

"It's a friendly gathering of people who like technology, and I'm hoping that people get together and talk," Halliar said. "An idea is sparked by what you see in someone else's vehicle or just talking. And that's how some great ideas fly."

Since its inception, the "Race" has been held alongside Whiting's annual "Art" festival, which kicks off 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Whiting.

Celebrating its seventh year, the festival features arts and crafts from a myriad of local artists and artisans. Other highlights of this year's run include musical performances by Keenan Baxter and Indiana, and a book signing by Chicago–based author Lisa A. Tortorello, whose recent tome, the kid–friendly "The Moose at the Manger," hit shelves in June.

To Halliar, joining forces with "Love of Art" is a logical move.

"In my mind, invention is an art, and there's somewhere where invention and art meet," he said. "Artists tend to be dreamers and inventors tend to be dreamers." 

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