DECATUR — This year’s Decatur Quilters Guild Quilt Fest will be covered with Illinois scenes in celebration of the state’s bicentennial.
“We are part of the Illinois Statewide Bicentennial Celebration,” said Mary Traxler, director of the 37th Quilt Fest. “Which is exciting for the guild.”
The event, which features 245 quilts, will be on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, at the Decatur Civic Center.
As part of the bicentennial celebration, the quilters guild will be allowed to use the state’s 200th anniversary logo on their bags and other quilt fest items. In turn, the state will endorse the Quilt Fest.
The quilters guild will continue the theme of promoting Illinois throughout the event.
Two special exhibits will be displayed, including the challenge for local quilters in which they were to use a particular piece of fabric or theme. The challenge this year was to relate a quilt to Illinois, incorporating items representing the state.
Another exhibit will be the return of the 2008 challenge which featured an Abraham Lincoln theme. “They were worth showing again because they were beautiful,” Traxler said.
The Quilt Fest raffles an ornate quilt each year. The 2018 fest will raffle a quilt titled "Cardinals in the Corn and Beans."
“It is a quilt especially designed by the Decatur Quilters Guild for this Quilt Fest. We wanted something that represents Illinois,” Traxler said.
The quilt displays corn, the state flower violets and the state bird the cardinal.
Special speaker for the Quilt Fest this year will be Suzi Parron, author of “Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement.” She will be speaking at 1 p.m. both days of the event.
Returning to the festival for another year will be quilt appraiser Sandy Schweiter.
Quilters are given the opportunity to purchase some of the latest quilt items and machinery. Vendors are travelling from as far away as Wisconsin to attend the event. New to this year’s quilt fest will be a gemologist selling jewelry.
The quilt fest isn’t just for experienced quilters.
The Decatur Quilters Guild will be hosting a display of quilts from the Illinois Statewide 4-H Youth Quilt Contest “I can quilt n’ sew.” The winners have the potential to win several prizes from the contest, including a Bernina sew machine.
“We will have the quilt finalists from that contest that will be voted on by the attendees of the show,” Traxler said. “We get to pick the state winners for that contest.”
The Decatur guild will be sponsoring their own youth competition with “Kids Can Quilt.” The quilt fest has had children enter their quilts in past, but this is the first competition designed specifically for children. The top prize will be a Janome sewing machine.
“It is a lighter weight machine easy for children to use,” Traxler said. “But advance enough to grow with their skills.”