Alexa Frankovitch (left), a volunteer, talks with 4-year-old Hayden Harsh as he designs his plate at the eighth annual Paint-a-Plate event Saturday at the Wells Building in Newell. The event is hosted annually by the Homer Laughlin China Co. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

NEWELL–As they celebrate the holidays, area children will be able to enjoy what they created Saturday during the annual Paint-A-Plate event.

The Homer Laughlin China Co. provided several hundreds of area children an opportunity to design their own plates Saturday morning as the china company held its eighth annual Paint-a-Plate event at the Wells Building on Washington Street in Newell.

Children received white-colored plates and took time to paint any sort of design they wished, while parents, volunteers from the company and Team Mojo Foundation assisted.

A popular children’s event that has grown from year-to-year since its first outing in 2009, Homer Laughlin gave families an opportunity to pre-register their children for the event due to the high demand based in past years.

According to Homer Laughlin general manager Sharon Giambroni, the pre-registered count for children for 2016 was at 440–an increase from last year’s pre-registered count of 378–and more were expected throughout the day through walk-ins.

Some of the creations are displayed.

“It’s grown every year,” Giambroni said. “The first year, I think 140 plates were painted.”

Children started off in the gymnasium with a paper plate, where they could sketch out what they had in mind. Once ready and a station was available, children then got to take a seat in the painting room, which is usually the bingo hall, and got to work with some commercial-grade paint, the same used by Homer Laughlin to decorate restaurant-style plates. The paint was provided through a donation from Team Mojo.

Once their paintings were completed, the kids brought their plates to a station, where they were collected. These plates will then be shipped across the street to Homer Laughlin’s factory, and will be fired inside a kiln to kill off any toxins that came with the paint so they can be used for dining. Giambroni added that because of the popularity, many children return each year to add another plate to their collections.

Over the course of this week, volunteers who helped out at the painting event will judge the designs of the plates, to which prizes will be awarded throughout five different age groups. Families will get to pick up their final kiln-fired products 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Saturday, also at the Wells Building.

Keirstyn Curtis, 10, gets ready to turn in her finished plate, which she artistically painted during Homer Laughlin’s annual Paint-a-Plate event Saturday at the Wells Building in Newell. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

Debbie Koby helps her 2-year-old daughter Olivia with her plate Saturday during the eighth annual Paint-a-Plate event. (Photo by Steve Rappach)