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A Mountain Quiltfest where America's best quilters come to show off
By Jeaneane Payne, Publisher

The beautiful LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, with a backdrop of the majestic Smoky Mountains, was host to A Mountain Quiltfest four days this week. Quiltfest is an annual event which welcomes spring and nearly 500 quilters from across America to showcase their unique quilts.

The Smoky Mountains is often thought of as a place for enjoying the mountains, the rivers, a meal at a great mom and pop restaurant, and small charming towns with lots of things to do for tourists, but Mountain Quiltfest has become a vital part of the region's appeal.

busker fest
Ladies of the Sea by Peggy Green of Sparta, Tenn won Best of Show. She also took away the Blue Ribbon in the Large Hand Quilted category.

Quilters competed in their choice of 20 categories for a chance to win a share of more than $22,000 in prizes. The four day festival offered nearly 80 classes led by nationally recognized instructors. Of special interest were the many vendors that featured goods and exquisitely designed quilts. Vendor booths were highly professional, and the quilts were as diverse as their intricate designs.

A number of quilters guilds participated in Quiltfest by demonstrating quilts crafted by its members.

nicole wilson quilt
This quilt by 7-year-old Nicole Wilson, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, took away the blue ribbon in the Youth 14 and under category.
quiltfest vendor
A vendor at "A Mountain Quiltfest" showcases quilts and quilting supplies.

Sandra Palmer, an American Quilter’s Society certified appraiser from Vermont, was on hand to appraise quilts, one of the reasons many people visit A Mountain Quiltfest.

“You needn’t ever have held a quilting needle in your hand to enjoy ‘A Mountain Quiltfest,’” said Butch Helton, manager of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism’s special events office, which organizes the activity along with the Piecemakers and Sevier Valley Quilters guilds.

“Absolutely everyone can appreciate the skill and artistry on display. In a sense, it’s a very special art show.”

busker fest
Mariner's Siren, made and quilted by Lynda Wallance of Knoxville, was a blue ribbon winner in the Medium Pieced category..

busker fest
Another blue ribbon winner in the Small Themed Quilt category. Fliers de Noel, was made by Barbara A. Wood of Dandridge, Tenn and quilted by Sharon Lakin, The pattern, Robin’s Roost, is by Cyndi Walker.

One of the themes of the quilt competition was Christmas. Christmas quilts included secular and religious and brought a special flare to the show.

Eleven antique quilt bed turnings were held over the event’s four days. These are sessions where local quilters and guild members offer detailed information about collections of quilts made before 1965.

The atmosphere of the show was laid-back with live music by Tim Simek, 2011 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion.

Published March 21, 2015

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