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.
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.
Well it is about time to leave for the annual Paducah AQS Quilting Show and Convention. The show days for 2014 are April 23 – 26th but we like to show up several days earlier to enjoy other entertainment and attractions the city and the region have to offer . . . before the population of Paducah doubles when the big show officially starts! (PS. After the Show I amended this post with some pictures of some of the winners. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a link to them. )
We’ll be based at the Canal Park RV Park in Grand Rivers, Kentucky at the edge of the Land Between the Lakes National Park. It is about 20 miles from Paducah and not as convenient as some of the RV parks and campgrounds in and around Paducah itself, but the campground itself is very attractive and we like the hiking trails in the park (and the nearby LBL) and also enjoy the shops and restuarants in the little town of Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Ross has promised me a belated birthday dinner at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement and I always enjoy going there. One more bonus of the Grand Rivers area are the three nearby golf courses which keep Ross occupied while I get my Paducah Quilt Show fix!
If you are going to this year’s event, know that they have added Carson Park as a satellite parking area for the show and it is being regularly served by the free Shuttle Buses or Trolleys that provide service between major lodging units on the periphery of town and various quilt show locations in Paducah.
Also if you haven’t got advance reservations for the events, as of this date online reservations are closed. But you can still register in person.
Show Events and Happenings.
In addition to the regular show events – workshops, lectures, entertainment, vendor displays, contest quilts, and special quilt collection exhibits – there are four official satellite events or venues occuring during Quilt Week: The National Quilting Museum will be featuring three special exhibits, the 26th Annual Rotary Quilt Show & Vendor Mall will be held in its usual location, the Fantastic Fibers exhibit will be at the Yeiser Art Center, and as in the past there is Eleanor Burn’s Quilt in a Day show and sale.
This year Eleanor’s Quilt in a Day Variety Tent Show has a new location. For years her show tent and Fabric Freenzy fabric sale tents were located in Carson Park. While a good location for parking and lots of space, there have been years when strong wind and rain have put a decided “damper” on the show and sale. Apparently Eleanor has had enough with “tenting” and is moving her show indoors. It is now at 609 Jefferson Street, much closer to the Expo Center and many other show events. But the downside is the new location only seats 200 and seating is now $5. Lots of fun and worth the price (at least one time) to see her show. You can learn more about the show here.
Apparently there will also be some sale items at this new location but I doubt whether it has the size or space to accomodate what the sale has been like in the past. But sales will go on at her downtown store as well as her warehouse on Kentucky Avenue.
Other Worthwhile Events While Eleanor’s Fabric and Quilting Supplies sale is the only AQS “Sanctioned Event” Sale there are many more big sales by other quilting purveyors located downtown and elsewhere. There are also other special events going on during this week that are just as interesting. For example Hancocks of Paducah is always flocked by bargain hunters and several other quilting merchants are offering similar specials. While the official show has a large vendor area, many quilting vendors set up shop in the Kentucky Oaks Mall on the west edge of Paducah. This year the Mall is also sponsoring an Artisan Festival. The McCracken County Library is displaying quilt wall hangings, conducting a special collectible quilt book sale and offering a special evening presentation by Dr. Pearlie Johnson on Kentucky Quilt Art. These are just a few of the other events going on of interest to quilters.
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.
Jo has been busy packing ARVY (our Rialta Motor Home) for her first trip of the 2013 season – which will be to Paducah, Kentucky for the annual Quilt Show & Quilters Convention.
We’ve had a very cold and wet early spring here in Wisconsin so we are especially looking forward to going south to catch some warmer weather. For Quilt Week the forecast is for temps in the low 60s to low 70s, a little below average for Paducah but to us here in Wisconsin it sounds quite balmy!
One bonus of the below average temperatures we’ve had (not only Wisconsin but the entire midwest and midsouth) is that the dogwoods should be blooming later this year, which means the peak of flowering might be during the show days. So if you are going to the Paducah Show this year you might want to plan to take in a Dogwood Trail Tour. If you are not in a private vehicle there are tour buses operating along the trail. There are many other Paducah Attractions to fill any extra moments you have between show events. A few I like are the Floodwall Murals, the Lowertown Arts District, and touring the historic downtown area+ dining and pub crawling!
The quilt show opens on Wednesday, April 24th with classes, lectures, workshops, and special events (in the evening). The Quilting Vendor areas are also open as well as the contest Show Quilt exhibits. The show runs through Saturday, April 27th. An event not officially connected to the show but one Jo always likes to catch is Eleanor Burn’s Tent Show and Fabric Sale held at Carson Park. The shows run 3 times a day from April 24 – April 27th. The Fabric Sale opens earlier on April 19th. If you’ve never been to one of Eleanor’s Stage Shows, you can see a video clip of her 2011 show here. Lots of fun.
Golfing, Hiking, RV Camping
Other things we like to do when we travel to Paducah is hike and camp at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and while Jo is attending some events I try to get some golfing in. Paducah’s Paxton Park course is enjoyable and reasonably priced. A more challenging golf course is the Drake Creek Golf Club in nearby Ledbetter, KY. Another nice course is the one at Kentucky Dam Village near Grand Rivers. A little further away from Paducah but I think worth the drive is the Murray State University course (Miller Memorial) near Murray, Kentucky.
Well gotta go and finish packing. Maybe we’ll see you in 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.
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.
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?
I am starting to get excited about going to the big Paducah Quilt Show April 21 – 24th. I was worried about the closure (due to financial problems) of the Executive Inn because it has been one of the primary sites for the show and is actually attached to the Carroll Convention Center. But it looks like they have set up a special AQS Pavilion in the convention center parking lot to host activities that used to be in the Executive Inn.
I think this year I’ll attend at least two days of the show and maybe take some classes too.
Last year we arrived early to catch part of the Dogwood Trail celebration, but the trail wasn’t officially open because there was so much damage from a winter ice storm that cut across the middle west in January. We hope it will be open this year and that our favorite campground will be open too as it was also closed due to storm damage.