Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

     So tired! But it is a good tired. We just got back from the largest outdoor quilt show in the world. Yes, that's what they call it: the largest outdoor quilt show in the world. Now I're thinking...right. A little town in south east Oregon has the largest outdoor quilt show in the WORLD. Well, the operative word here is "outdoor". This little town in Oregon hangs 1300-1500 quilts in one morning BEFORE 9:00 a.m. and thousands of people come from all over the globe to look at these quilts, shop in the town, eat the food and take pictures of the quilts until 4:00 p.m. when the quilts are all taken down and returned to their owners, except for the ones that have been purchased; as far as I could tell, about 3/4 of the quilts hanging were for sale. The quilters set the price. So some of the quilts are a great deal and some are overpriced. But most of them were under priced from what I could tell. Take for instance, a spectacular hand appliqued, hand quilted queen size quilt for $1500. I couldn't afford to buy it but it was well worth the $1500 if not more.

Picture doesn't do it justice
I took pictures of the crowd but they were too small to enlarge very well. But here are some of the prettier quilts we saw. I took over 300 pictures, so I won't put them all here.
I would have a difficult time choosing which one of all of these I liked the best. Many of the quilts came from quilters who submitted them from many foreign countries. The dead line for submission is always June 1st. So the volunteers of this show categorize all these thousands of quilts and decide where they should be hung all over town. Yes, you read that right...there are no paid employees that do this show. From the people who put out the parking signs, to the people who hang the quilts, to the people who stroll the streets asking if anyone has any questions, to the people who organize the smaller groups of fund raisers who sell water and sodas in the crowds, to the people who take down the quilts, to the people who label and sell each quilt...all volunteers. In a publication handed out to all show attendees, the city of Sisters, OR spends approximately $121,000 to get this show running every year, but most of that goes for city beautification, and I must say the city is beautiful, I am assuming all year round. One can only imagine how much revenue this quilt show brings into the city each year. All the hotels, motels filled, all the restaurant meals, the retreats set up at the junior high, the week of classes from world-renown teachers, people shopping at the antique stores, the fabric stores, the candy shops; it goes on and on and on and on!
     Well, I guess you can tell, the show was great. And I was majorly (not really a word, I don't think) impressed. Although I must say that with all these quilts and only 7 hours to see them all...well, it was a bit overwhelming. I know there were ones I did not see. There is no possible way to make sure you saw each and every one. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how they were hung except for one section with one guild's mystery class that were all hung together; about 15 of them. That was cool. They all looked the same but oh, so different! There were signs posted that said if you wanted to find a particular quilt that the Head Organizing Committee at a certain location could help you. But I don't know if that would really be necessary for most people.
     All in all, I was amazed. I have been involved in putting on several quilt shows and let me tell you, these people have got this down to a science! And I was amazed at the whole atmosphere of the town: everybody was SO nice; townspeople and guests alike. All 300 pictures I took were, for the most part, taken after people making sure they were out of my way.
I have always wanted to come to Sisters for this wonderful show and I am so glad I got the opportunity to do so. I am also thankful that Doug suggested we come and that he was there the whole day, shopping, holding the quilts in the breeze, helping me take pictures and listening to the endless talk of fabric, colors and how amazing it all was. I don't know if I will ever get back to Sisters to attend this show again. I bought a T-shirt, a Christmas ornament and some postcards and a shopping bag to remember it all with. We had lots of fun and even though this was the main focus of our trip we still have things we want to do before we turn home. I will try to upload all the pictures into a Picasa account so that anyone can find them, in case you want to look at them all. All the quilts were amazing and remember...the pictures are nice but they really don't so them justice!
     Tomorrow we are planning on sleeping in a little and then driving to Madras, OR to visit a Lavender Farm that is part of the yearly Oregon Lavender Festival. We are leaving Redmond on Monday morning but we haven't decided where we will head. We're having a great time...wish you were here! :)

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