Tyler Quilt Show and interesting things to see and do during the Azalea Festival
Jo and I traveled to Tyler Texas to attend the 31st annual Azalea Quilt Show sponsored by the Quilters’ Guild of East Texas. (The 37th annual event will be held March 23-24, 2018) The event is held on the third or fourth weekend of March to coincide with Tyler’s Annual Azalea & Spring Flower Festival. The event is held at the Harvey Convention Center in the center of Tyler. This location was excellent. Although located in the center of Tyler it was easy to find, had plenty of free parking adjacent to the convention center, and the auditorium exhibit room was well-lighted and comfortable. For a regional show Jo felt they had a number of well-crafted quilts in the competition.
Here’s one of many quilts we liked. This one is “Stars and Tumblers – A little bit of Blue” submitted by Rebecca Yarbrough.
One of the attractions of attending this show, driving all the way from Wisconsin, was also being able to tour the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail in Tyler. The Convention & Visitors Bureau and various civic groups and garden clubs have joined together to create a network of tour trails throughout a portion of Tyler. Most can be toured by automobile but some homeowners have opened up their yards for walking tours as well. A number of the homes on the tour are listed as historic homes; others while not historic are quite distinctive. It is evident that many homeowners in Tyler take great pride in creating extensive azalea and spring flowering gardens. During the two week tour festival, there are also scheduled tours of historic homes, an arts & crafts festival, the annual Rotary Chili Cook Off competition, and tours of the historic Roseland Plantation as well as a number of other events.
But that’s not all that brought us to Tyler for the Quilt Show. In nearby Rusk Texas the Texas State Railroad runs its annual spring Steam Train excursions through the piney woods between Rusk and Palestine. Having enjoyed similar old time railroad excursions along Duluth’s North Shore and along the Mississippi River, we thought it would be fun to sample the experience in Texas. We were not disappointed. The Texas State Railroad attends to all the details to make sure your ride is a step back in time to the grand old days of railroad travel. Steam Engine 300 is a 83 ton 1917 Baldwin 2-8-0 and its cars date back to the 1920s.
The final element of attraction (and a major one for Ross) for the Tyler Quilt Show was golfing. Although there are several courses in the area, we were only able to work in one outing on this trip to the Peachtree-Oakhurst golf course about 10 miles south of Tyler near the town of Bullard.
The Oakhurst Golf course is an attractive course with a choice of 5 tee boxes. Rolling terrain with groves of trees helping to divide the fairways from one another as well as ad visual interest to the overall layout. Water on ten holes added to the scenic attraction as well as the challenge. I found the course challenging, but fair and enjoyable. The fairways and greens were in good condition. I particularly liked the fact that the fairways use a mixture of grass other than Bermuda which you sometimes find at other mid-south golf courses. Bermuda is great for tolerating summer heat but it is worthless for a spring golfing experience in the mid-south where winter temperatures have killed the grass and it won’t green up until overnight temperatures are in the 70s. I’ll post more pictures from Oakhurst and other golfing details in our regular pages.
Coincidentally when packing up after golfing we struck up a conversation with another couple who just finished the course, Illeice and Al Baker. Turned out that Illeice is a member of the East Texas Quilter’s Guild and was on the committee planning the quilt show! At the quilt show her term begins as President-elect so a year from now she’ll be the incoming Guild President. So if I am down here next year when Jo attends the show I can go golfing with Al.
Well that’s it for our report on the Azalea Quilt Show. Summary. The Azalea Quilt Show is a well organized good quality regional show and there are lots of other good reasons to travel some distance to attend the show.
Ross and Joby