Quilt Week & 2014 Paducah Quilt Show

Report from the 2014 Show

Paducah Quilt Show
The Vendor Area was crowded with people early in the day, looking for bargains like I was

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.

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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.

Patti's Restaurant at the 1881's Settlement is always busy
Pattis Restaurant Paducah
Lots of quilting talk at adjacent tables!

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.

Liteside Bakery Grand Rivers KY
Bob and Irene's LiteSide Bakery and Cafe

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.

Eleanor Burn's new location for her Fabric Frenzy and Variety Show

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.

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There are a few more events or activities that don’t have a lot to do with quilting but are worthwhile: Touring Paducah’s Mural Wall and the walking tour of historic homes in the Lower Town Arts District. (The links all go to feature pages on our website with pictures and other information). If you or your partner are golfers, see Ross’s Reviews of Paducah Golf Courses. Here’s a few more links of interest:

Paducah Visitors Bureau
AQS Paducah Quilt Week Paducah

That’s all til next year.

Jo

Paducah, Kentucky – Quilt City USA

Paducah, Kentucky – 2013 Quilt Show

Paducah is home to National Quilt Museum and the headquarters of the American Quilters Society so its affiliation with quilting and fabric arts extends beyond the week of the annual quilting convention that quilters know as the Paducah Quilt Show (officially titled the AQS Quilt Show & Contest – Paducah). This year-long resident association with quilting also accounts for why the entire town gets decked out for Quilt Week (the week of the show and related activities).

When Jo is at the show I enjoy walking around downtown and the nearby Lower Town Arts District with its many cafes, pubs, gift and antique shops, and artisan shops. The Floodwall Mural Walk is always interesting for both its artistic merit and educational insight into Paducah’s history. Some years the dogwoods remain in full bloom so we’ll take in the 12 mile Dogwood Trail driving tour that runs from mid-May to the end of Quilt Week. Most years, I am able to get in at least one round of golf at Paxton Park Golf Course. This year my new bionic knees weren’t quite ready for a full round so I just did some chipping and putting at their practice greens.

Below are some photos with captions from around downtown. Later when Jo finishes her notes we’ll post some stuff from the actual AQS show.

Ross

The Yeiser Art Center in the historic 1905 Market House is all dressed up for Quilt Show week

This "quilted" caped crusader was riding around downtown on his Segway Transporter

During Quilt Week the Pagoda across the street from the Market House Art Center is always populated by artists and artisans displaying their creations

There are several "bike taxis" offering rides around downtown. This one was advertised "free rides"

Ladies from the quilt show lined up for lunch at Kirchoff's Bakery and Cafe

Many of the Dogwoods along the Dogwood Trail remained in full bloom

Arriving at Paducah

Whenever Jo goes to the Paducah AQS Quilt Show, we like to arrive a few days earlier to have some extra time to enjoy the area and get a better choice of an RV campsite. Touring the Dogwood Trail and golfing are among these pre-show pursuits.

dogwood trail paducah, kentucky
Dogwood Trail Festival Paducah Kentucky

Last year (2009) there wasn’t an official Dogwood Trail Celebration because a winter ice storm had damaged so many trees. We followed the route outlined for the 2008 trail and although storm damage was evident, we still found a number of attractive displays of dogwoods and azaleas. In 2010 we followed the trail markers and did our own tour in our RV motor home. The photo shows the trees in the lawn of one of Paducah’s oldest historical landmarks: Grace Episcopal Church (1874) on Broadway Avenue. Most trees were in full bloom, but here and there some trees still show evidence of having lost their tops or major branches. On Saturday evening we attended the official festival celebration Saturday night which included a narrated evening tour of the trail.

Murray State Golf Course

When Jo goes to the Quilt Show, golf usually occupies my time and is a favorite of other spouses of quilters who accompany their wives to the annual event. The Paxton Park course in Paducah is a popular course and the green fees are reasonable. Another popular area golf  course is the Kentucky Dam Resort course near Grand Rivers, KY. On the way to our campsite to attend the 2010 show I discovered a new course: the Murray State University Golf Course (Miller Memorial) near Murray, Kentucky. About 40 miles from Paducah, I think the extra travel is well worth the effort. The course is 18 holes with excellent maintenance, nicely detailed signage at each hole, and easy-to-read greens and fair hole locations. These factors help golfers new to the course enjoy the play. On Tuesday I hope to play the Drake Creek Golf Club in Ledbetter, KY (about 10 miles from downtown Paducah). They have a senior special on Tuesdays – $20 for green fees and cart. I’ll report on that later.

Despite a warm spring, the fairway grass on several of the courses I’ve played this spring (in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky) has been somewhat marginal. Apparently the variety of turf grass they use tolerates heat well but doesn’t green up nicely until May. One of my favorite Lake Superior golf courses – Nemadji Golf Course in Superior Wisconsin – opened this spring on March 30th, 10 days earlier than they had ever opened in the last 50 years. I wonder if their fairways are in as good a shape as what I am finding in the mid-south?

–Ross