2017 AQS Paducah Quilt Show – Quilt Week begins April 23rd
Traditionally the official AQS Quilt Show doesn’t begin until Wednesday of Quilt Week. But the city and quilting related organizations usually have other fun and interesting activities leading up to the official show opening, creating a Quilting and Fiber Arts Festival with the AQS Show as a centerpiece. In the past around 30,000 quilting fanatics come into town for this big event.
If you’ve never before been to “Paducah” here’s our main Paducah Quilt Show and Festival page with pictures, information and links to past blog posts on the show, plus info on other events and attractions around town.
In recent years the AQS has expanded their Quilt Week shows beyond the Spring Paducah show and now even do a Fall Paducah Show. I think this is unfortunate because it may be having the result of diminishing the traditional Paducah show which for quilters has been like the annual convention for quilters across the country (and world for that matter). The annual beginning of the year question often asked among quilters is “Are you going to Paducah this year?” But now AQS wants you to ask “are you going to Daytona, or going to Lancaster, or going to Grand Rapids, or going to Des Moines, or going to Paducah in the Fall” as they are now sponsoring 6 Quilt Week Shows!! But I suspect for quilters, there is only the granddaddy show – the April Paducah show and its festival atmosphere.
Scenes from the 2017 Paducah Quilt Show
One thing I missed about the 2017 show is that it was held so late in the month the Dogwoods had already finished blooming. But the 2018 Paducah AQS Quilt Show is being held earlier (April 18 – 21st) so if you arrive a day or two early be sure to tour the Dogwood Trail. And if you or your spouse is a golfer, check out our reviews of Paducah Area Golf Courses.
2016 AQS Paducah Quilt Show – Quilt Week begins Sunday April 17th
I’m looking forward to returning to Quilt City USA, also known as Paducah, Kentucky for Quilt Week and the annual AQS Quilt Show & Contest, joining around 30,000 other quilting fanatics in what is essentially an annual convention, complete with a festival atmosphere.
The official AQS Quilt Show doesn’t begin until Weds April, 20th and runs through April 23rd. But it isn’t called Quilt Week as a hyperbole because there are lots of quilting related activities that start before the 23rd.
The National Quilt Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary and will be featuring specials exhibits for quilt week, beginning Sunday, April 17th.
The Hotel Metropolitan will be exhibiting African American Underground Railroad Quilts
Many other events are going on in the area. We always try to arrive a little early to catch the Dogwoods in bloom and do the Paducah Dogwood Trail tour. You can follow the signs in your own car or ride one of the special city buses that run the tour trail. Paducah quilt and fabric shops always have specials going on during quilt week, for example Hancocks of Paducah is always crazy with tons of shoppers looking for deals. There’s also a satellite quilting event with vendors and exhibits at the Mall at the west end of town.
The show is located close to downtown Paducah and the River Front so there are lots of neat restaurants, pubs, shops, and boutiques to visit. Paducah’s Floodwall Murals are outstanding both as works of art and a walking tour history lesson. My husband Ross often goes with me to the show as the town is so alive with so many things to do other than the AQS show itself. But one of his favorite Paducah entertainment options is on the Paducah area golf courses (see his recent reviews here). And I know he is looking forward to getting back on the links again this year.
Just received my flyer for the 2015 Quilt Expo for early registration. Registering early is important for lectures, workshops and special evening events . . . as there is limited seating for these activities.
This annual event, sponsored by Wisconsin Public Television and Nancy Zieman, is growing every year. I see my friend Eileen Daniels is giving a one hour presentation on making quilted items from vintage textiles. One of about 70 lectures available.
In looking over the flyer there’s a couple of classes that look interesting that I might take this year. The Hands-On Workshop English Paper and Hand Piecing will give me a skill that will be handy when we are traveling and I don’t have room to take my machine.
The featured speaker on Thursday Night is one I’d like to attend. It is a presentation by Dr. Clarence Boswell on Pre-Civil War Quilts and their history with the Underground Railroad.
For the past number of years , 6 to be exact, I’ve attended the Madison Wisconsin Quilt Expo sponsored by Nancy Zieman and Wisconsin Public Television. This year’s show was bigger and better than prior years. In fact I seem to be saying this every year, so each year is topping the previous year. Bigger in terms of number of quilts on display (over 500), bigger in terms of number of vendors, more classes and workshops, and in terms of number of attendees on opening day – also bigger.
I thought this year I’d be able to attend more than one day of the show, but again our various travel plans interfered with this goal. But I find if I go to a show with “game plan” on what I want to see, I can generally pack everything into one day.
One thing I noticed this year was the number of tools and gadgets being offered to make quilting more fun and easier. So I always advise to include trolling the vendor area as part of your quilt show visit. Another reason to visit the vendor section of the show are sometimes you can get some good deals on supplies. For example, this time I happened to be in the need of threads so one of my necessary stops was at the Superior Threads booth. I left stocking up on fabric material to my friend Sue who did some stocking up. We both laughed about wondering if we will ever get to sew up our accumulated “stash” of fabrics in our lifetimes.
As always we enjoyed looking at so many beautiful quilts. Here is a slide show of some of my favorite winning quilts plus some that I thought should have been winners! (PS If you click on any of the slides, you can see a larger image of the quilt)
I am looking forward to attending the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin as it keeps getting bigger and better each year. This year’s show is from Sept 4th to the 6th at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall. If you are new to the Madison Quilt Expo, you can see photos and my story on past Wisconsin Quilt Expo Shows here to get an idea of what it is like. At the bottom of the page are links to more pages from other years.
I’ll have some photos and a report here later.
A smaller show later in the month that I hoped to attend but had conflicting travel wanna-bes is the Northern Lights Quilting Guild Show in Ironwood, Michigan just over the border from Hurley, Wisconsin. It is a one day show held on September 20th. As a bonus you might catch some early fall color at one of our favorite fall spots – Black River Harbor Scenic Area – located about 15 miles north of Ironwood.
If you are looking for a quilt show to attend this fall check our Quilt Show Calendar for some good ideas.
My sisters and I recently spent a weekend in the Cedarburg WI area. Knowing that was our plan, of course this meant I had to take them to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts – a museum not to miss. They have exhibits that change on a regular basis, so check their website before you head out.
The featured exhibit at the time we visited (last weekend in July) was Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s “Traditions Made Modern: Full Circle – Sketches From Life — 12 Double Wedding Rings.”
My visits to quilt shops in the Cedarburg area were restrained by being the only quilter among my sisters (need to get another one in the family) so I was able to visit only one: Ye Olde Schoolhouse. I liked the shop and they have a friendly staff. Was so busy looking around I forgot to take some pictures. But you can see more photos on their website.
While we only stopped at one quilt shop, we were able to visit a number of other gift and antique shops in the village as well as having lunch and dinner at some of the nicer restaurants in town.
On our way home from our weekend in Cedarburg, we stopped in a garden center near Colgate, Wisconsin that has been on my list of places to visit for some time: Monches Farm Nursery & Garden Center. Ideally I’d like to be there in the spring so I can get some good quality bedding plants for my flower and vegetable gardens. But now I know where they are located when I am on the hunt for perennials.
To learn more about visiting Historic Cedarburg here is a link to their website: www.cedarburg.org/
On Wednesday I was at the show’s opening at 9 am. I wanted to get to Hobb’s vendor booth to catch their traditional sale price on wool batting before they were sold out. Took all I could carry back to the motorhome where Ross was waiting for the delivery. The attendance on opening day was as big as I’ve ever seen it. Since AQS now runs several other annual quilt shows & contests I’d wondered if Paducah was getting less popular. But judging from the crowds I encountered on Wednesday and Thursday, I’d say no. There were over 400 quilts entered in the contest from 40 states and 10 foreign countries. So in my estimation Paducah’s Quilt Show remains the “Big Show” and unofficial national quilting convention.
There were so many attractive and expertly done quilts it is very difficult to name favorites. The Art Quilts continue to amaze me with their realism and artistic perfection. Yet there are also many beautiful quilts using more traditional quilting styles. I’ll show a few favorites here.
Although the Big Show doesn’t open until Wednesday, many quilters come into town early to take advantage of pre-show specials and enjoy some of their favorite Paducah-area places before the crowds.
One of the favorite dining spots of quilters and Paducah area visitors is about 25 miles east of Paducah in the quaint little resort town of Grand Rivers, Kentucky. It happens to be our number one favorite place to eat – Patti’s Restaurant in the Grand Rivers 1881 Settlement Complex. We were there Tuesday night and it was apparent the place was jam-packed with quilters as the ratio of female diners to male dinners was easily 10 to 1. If you’ve never been to Patti’s or its companion restaurant – Mr.Bill’s you’ve got to add it to your AQS Quilt Show bucket list. The wait staff are all costumed in late 1800s apparel and exude the traditional southern hospitality and courtesy. The food is truly home-cookin’ good and generous portions. Jo had their grilled Salmon with stir-fried veggies. Patti’s managed to keep the Salmon moist and crumbly. The veggie medley wasn’t overcooked and had lots of variety. The dinner salads were also expertly done and generous portions. Ross had Ella Mae’s special chicken breast topped with thinly sliced black forest ham and swiss cheese. Excellent combination. Ross managed to finish all of his meal and I much of it but both of us almost needed to be rolled out of the place. Unfortunately we didn’t have room for one of Patti’s famous pies.
Another favorite dining place in Grand Rivers is Bob and Irene’s Bright Side Café and Bakery. We usually catch a breakfast omelet and a delicious pastry with them but this trip we stopped by for lunch. I had their bison burger with mushrooms and swiss cheese. A mushroom-swiss burger is my benchmark hot sandwhich when we are dining out. Bob’s bison burger served on one of Irene’s specialty buns got top marks. Excellent and big enough that I got to take home part of it for a snack the next day. Ross had the black bean burger also served on Irene’s homemade buns with lettuce and tomato. A decent veggie burger. Bright Side is only open Thursday – Sunday and only for breakfast or lunch. A family owned and run café with a unique and brightly decorated atmosphere.
In Paducah I managed to catch Eleanor Burn’s Fabric Frenzy before they officially opened for the Quilt Show. It was in a new location on Jefferson Street and workers were still doing finishing work to get ready for opening day. But despite the work in progress, they were also open for business. Managed to find several Batiques I’d been searching for a certain pattern and at a very attractive price. Don’t know how she does it but Eleanor manages to have good quality fabrics at terrific prices. In the back of the Fabric Freenzy sale space, Eleanor’s crew constructed a combination classroom and mini-auditorium. Big enough for the classroom but only a fraction of the space Eleanor had for her long-running Quilt Week Tent Show. So for the first time in 20 odd years there was an admissions fee and reserved seats to attend the show. (It was packed).
During the show we took a tour of Paducah’s Dogwood Trail. A few years ago many of the trees were damaged in a storm but now most have recovered with new growth. The peak was just a few days before the show, but there were still lots of beautiful blossoms left. You can see some earlier Dogwood Trail pictures here. Below are some pix from this year.
Paducah’s only public golf course is less than 10 minutes from downtown and very convenient for rendezvous with your quilting spouse who is going to the show.
In late April, the fairways were still brown from the severe winter and there were lots of wet spots that were not draining well (earlier in April it had rained quite a bit). Since grass was not yet greened up I suppose that helps keep the ground wetter than usual. It looked like drainage tile was being installed on some fairways. But the greens and tee boxes were in good condition . . . with the greens faster than they looked.
The course is a mature, tree lined course with good definition of the fairways. Many of the holes feature rolling terrain and are either predominately uphill or downhill. Sometimes trees are fairway hazards. There is water on several holes. There are a few ponds adjacent to some fairways but most of the water hazard comes in the form of a creek than runs across many of the fairways. The cart paths are paved and each hole has an attractive monument with a detailed graphic of the hole layout.
There are four sets of tees – Gold, Blue, Yellow, and Red. While the Blue Tees would seem to be equivalent to the White Tees on many courses, at 6262 yards it was a little longer than most White Tees of my experience. Most of this extra yardage was allotted to three very long Par 3s and one long Par 4.
Once the fairways are greened up and the wet spots dried out, I’d consider this an attractive course. The course has variety and the challenges are fair ones – no trickery or gimmics. Beginning golfers will find it easy to play; more advanced golfers should be sufficiently challenged by the Gold tees as some of the holes will require a long and well-placed drive to reach the green in regulation. Moderate terrain change lends variety and challenge to the holes but not so hilly to make walking the course an issue.
The Pro Shop is reasonably well-equipped and the seasoned staff friendly and helpful. There are two putting greens, with one of them set up with a sand trap for bunker play and adequate space around it for pitching practice. The driving range is fairly level with several flags of various distances, but no defined tees boxes. Paved parking lot with adequate space. Price is competitive; I’d say fair for the quality of the facility. Spring walking price for 18 holes was $17.00 and that was an all-day price.
Located about 25 miles east of Paducah along highway 62, Kentucky Dam Village is a convenient drive. Of course if you are staying in the Grand Rivers area as we were it is very convenient. It is a state-owned golf course and is part of the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort. If you like a brew on the course or after play, forget it as the course is in a dry county. Also if you like to hit some range balls prior to play or practice some chips shots, be aware there is no driving range and only one putting green. The hills and more significant terrain change that adds challenge and attractiveness to the course equates to a negative for walking the course. So unless you are a fitness buff, plan to use a cart.
What I liked about the course
It is has an attractive course layout, with mature trees defining the fairways and woods surrounding the entire course. Flower plantings are at most every tee box. The golf course has good variety of terrain with nice elevation changes on many holes. Water is a hazard on some holes but with one exception generally not significant. The Tee boxes were in good condition as were the Greens – except the greens were in serious need of rolling and cutting. Overall the course offers a good but fair challenge for advanced golfers, yet is manageable for higher handicap golfers.
What I didn’t like about the course
There were some serious rough spots immediately adjacent to the fairway so some balls at the edges of the fairway could land in bare dirt and gravel. There were also some rough spots adjacent to the greens. #18 for example had no fringe at all in places. My ball landed two inches off the green on bare dirt. While it could be argued that the harsh winter was the cause of these defects, they appeared to me from more than a season’s neglect. The greens, though lush, were extremely slow – slow as Molasses in fact – and seriously needed cutting and rolling. Architecturally Kentucky Dam is an attractive course, but I wonder if the maintenance budget is too sparse. Maintenance as an issue also showed up on the golf carts. They were well-used with many miles on them.
Like Paxton Park, the fairways were brown, with little evidence of green grass. Had to negotiate around mud flats as well as wet spots. Again the harsh winter is a factor, but another is due to the choice of fairway grass seed blend. Seems to me that the Bermuda grass mix used in southern courses for its heat tolerance should not be as much of an issue in Paducah as it isn’t that far south. But both Paxton Park and Kentucky Dam courses use this blend. In my opinion, a more appropriate would be a blend with other grass types or a hybrid that greens up faster. The lack of actively growing grass also adds to the mud and drainage problems from spring rains.
The tee monuments, while attractive and set in flower beds, contained no graphics of the layout of each hole, which meant constant checking of the scorecard. My final knock against the course goes to the price. Although conditions were poor, the facility charged full, regular season price.
Overall I liked the course but didn’t like the conditions and maintenance . . . and the lack of a spring price that took into account the poorer conditions. In a future occasion, unless the course was fully greened up, I would only play here on a day or time where they offer a discount.
Drake Creek is located less than 10 miles east of Paducah in the rural community of Ledbetter. It almost could be called a suburb of Paducah and is almost as convenient to downtown as the Paxton Park course. Much of the golf course is laid out along a finger-like inlet to the Ohio River that has creek tributaries. It is primarily a links style course with few trees defining the fairways. Part of the front nine is on higher ground and surrounded by woods (but few trees close to the fairways). The back nine is on lower ground and is surrounded by a housing development. The front 9 has paved cart paths; the back nine paths are gravel. The fairways are rolling and some holes have more dramatic terrain changes. Water comes into play on many holes adding both attractiveness to the course as well as hazard. Frequent use of fairway sand bunkers and bunkers guarding the greens add challenge. Drake Creek is set within a newer housing development so it is apparent it was constructed as part of this overall housing community development.
What I liked about the course
The fairways are Zoysia grass blends, which green up much faster than the Bermuda blends used at the Kentucky Dam and Paxton Park courses. It was more enjoyable to play off of green grass vs. mud, dirt, and dead grass that I encountered on the other courses. The Zoysia also meant the the areas around the greens were in much better shape than the the other two courses. Perhaps because of the growing grass and also the rolling terrain and mounds there were few wet spots in the fairway. I think the soil may have been more sandy which also helps the drainage. The greens were in excellent condition, better condition and more true than either Paxton or Kentucky Dam. The green fees were a good deal – $30 for green fee and cart if you reserved online. They also have a very attractive $20 Senior Tuesday (cart and green fee).
There is a restaurant and grill next to the pro shop and they offered a menu of sandwiches you could order by phone and have ready for you at the turn before you start the 10th hole. The prices seemed quite reasonable, but I didn’t get a chance to try out the fare.
What I didn’t like about the course
The course designers built in several challenges that I found artificial or as my brother-in-law would say “unfair” or gimmicky. Too many “gotchas” with particular placement of fairway sand bunkers and greenside bunkers. Too many mounds and trenches in the fairways. The fairways were generally narrow. The lack of trees defining the fairways and the mounds and rolling fairways made it difficult to see the general layout of a hole and determine a landing spot for your drives. A good drive down the middle of the fairway sometimes resulted in a ball in a sand bunker, in the water, or in a ditch. It was easy to get in trouble with a less than good drive. I felt like on many holes it was “target golf” in that you had to know the hazards in advance and aim for a safe spot.
In fairness to the course layout, people who have played this course several times would know the character of each hole and not have the issues I had with the course. They would know the “targets” on each hole and when to go long, short, or layup. But being that this is otherwise a very average golf course with average amenities, the hazards seemed to me an attempt to “puff it up” to something more than it is.
But as I mentioned above under “likes” I sure liked playing on real grass and having decent conditions on the green and around the green. And the prices were fair.
Other Recommended Paducah Area Public Golf Courses
This is another Kentucky State Resort Park golf course located on Lake Barkley.
Didn’t have a chance to play Mineral Mound but did do a drive-by and talked to one of the course employees. It is located about 15 miles east of the Kentucky Dam Course so if you are coming from Paducah, it might be a 35 to 40 minute drive from Paducah. From Grand Rivers it was about a 20 minute drive.
The greens looked in good shape and my local source indicated they were moderately fast. The area around the greens I saw looked in better condition than I encountered at the Kentucky Dam course and it seemed to be a little more green in the fairways. The front nine is set in the hills on the high ground with woods lining the fairways on both sides. The back nine is located on lower ground along Lake Barkley with views of the lake from several of the holes. I think this would be a scenic course and could be fun to play. I hope to play this course on my next trip to Paducah.
Miller is about 35 miles south east of Paducah, a few miles east of the town Murray, Kentucky on Potterstown Road. It is owned and managed by Murray State University. This is my favorite course in the Paducah area but I didn’t get a chance to play there this trip nor since 2010 or 11, so can’t say how their conditions stacked up against the other three courses I did play.
Miller is an attractive mature course with moderately high elevation changes and trees defining the fairways. There is some water on the course and comes into play in a serious way on a few holes. Because it is a university course and headquarters for the golf team, I think the maintenance might be better than some other area courses.
Miller offers a Monday – Friday senior discount – helps defer the extra cost of driving more miles to get there. I’d be playing this course more often if it was closer to Paducah or Grand Rivers (where we stay when we attend the Quilt Show).
This is yet another Kentucky State Resort Park golf course. It is even further away from Paducah than the Miller Murray course and may be too distant for most golfers whose spouses are attending the Quilt Show. It is a Boots Randolph designed course and I have a friend who played it and liked it a lot so I am listing it for those willing to drive a longer distance to play a quality course.
Other Golf Courses near Paducah Kentucky
The Calvert City Golf Course is a semi-private country club course. One year during Quilt Week I drove over to the course with an interest in playing it. No one was staffing the modest pro shop. I waited around for someone to show up and eventually gave up. From what I could see of the course it didn’t appear that special so I’ve crossed it off my list of golfing options.
Benton Golf & Country Club is a semi-private country club and located on the way to Murray Kentucky but would be about 10 minutes shorter drive. Couldn’t find that much information about the course on their modest website. If you are going to drive this far to get to Benton, I’d suggest investing another 10 minutes or so to go to Miller Memorial as I am sure that is a better golf course and if you are a senior golfer it offers a very attractive green fee.
Rend Lake Golf Course
This is not a Paducah area course as it is about 80 miles north of Paducah near Benton, Illinois. But it is just off I-57 which is the route people from Wisconsin and Northern Illinois would take to come to the quilt show. So if you are a golfer and travel this route, this 27 hole course is worth a stop as it is a pretty course whose fairways will be in better condition than what you find in the Paducah area. See our Rend Lake Golf Course pictures and comments here.