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.
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.
Wisconsin Quilt Expo – Madison, Wisconsin
Sponsored by Nancy Zieman and Wisconsin Public Television
Well I was only able to attend one day of the three day 2013 Quilt Expo show (Sept 5-7, 2013) due to other travel commitments. As I commented in my post on last year’s show, Madison’s Quilt Expo seems to increase in size every year – in number of quilts entered, number of display quilts, number of vendors, and number of attendees. I attended on Thursday, the opening day, and I could easily see how the attendance was up from the previous year’s opening day. It is really becoming a major show.
With only one day and a need to pack for my upcoming trip later that evening, I had to crowd a lot of quilt show into a small package. Maybe next year I’ll have more time and can attend some classes as well. Next year’s Quilt Expo will be Sept 4 – 6, 2014
Below are a few pictures from the 2013 show.
You can see some posts on previous Quilt Expo shows by searching for the tag “Quilt Expo” here on the blog or go to our regular website page on the annual Madison Wisconsin Quilt Expo quilt show.
PS You can keep in touch with upcoming quilt shows across the country on our Quilt Show Calendar.