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Thread: Running a quilt show at local fair. HELP! Need ideas/input

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2010
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    Running a quilt show at local fair. HELP! Need ideas/input

    Hi All-

    I am in charge of running the quilt show at our local fair. The fair is in dire need of some upgrades/changes. For those that are involved in the process, how do you draw in exhibitors? For those that show in these fairs, what do you like about it, what makes you show, and why do you keep coming back?

    Also, is there any neat competitions of things you look forward too at the fair/quilt show? I think last year we had a total of 5 quilts TOPS! I REALLY want to change that for the good!

    Suggestions/thoughts/ideas to improve..thanks, JC

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Where are you located? Do you have a large quilting/sewing community? I really like to look at the antique quilts and not so much into the competition. And I find it fun to have a hand quilting display with people quilting at the fair. But it is nice to see what other people are making now and how they are doing it. Have you talked with the local guilds to find out why they are not participating with the fair? It seems it doesn't take much to injure the feelings of people and so they refuse to contribute and try to persuade others not to contribute either. You need to find out when it was good and what made it change so dramatically.

  3. #3
    Power Poster
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    What is your operating budget? If it's pretty low, look to get some sponsors for prizes for your quilt sections. Do you have ribbons? If not you can make some for your winners. Can you partner with a small newspaper to do a prize list and get it published with the dates for entering exhibits? let aquilt guild in your area knowtoo see if anyone is interested. A spot on a local radio/tv station can help develop interest. Look for some good volunteers because you can't do it all yourself. Decide if you want a pro. judge who will want to be paid or viewer choice awards.

  4. #4
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Some people are intimidated by competing. What if you had an additional area where people could display quilts without that area being competitive? What about for every quilt displayed or entered in a competition, you get a ticket for a drawing for something quilt related and cool?

    Also, what about having some different types of competitions for items like table runners, christmas tree skirts, quilt tops made entirely of clothing, t-shirt quilt tops, bed runners, fabric folding, post cards made of quilting (not to be confused with the postcard quilt pattern), ugly fabric quilt etc. Advertise and alert people well ahead of time about the judging section.

    Brief demos with samples for each step along the way would draw me in also. I would love to see demos of how to do fabric folding, using your DSM to embroider letters using zigzag stitch, making postcards, different ways to mark a quilt for FMQing.

    I hope my input was helpful. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Are you planning a Quilt Show? or a Quilt Competition?
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    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  6. #6
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    It is important to me as an exhibitor that my quilts be in a secure, clean environment. In a community where I lived previously, the quilts were not behind glass, but guild members volunteered to oversee the exhibition area. People were allowed to touch with gloves and supervision. Where I live now, the quilts are behind glass, and nobody can touch them. Good for the quilts, but not so good for nearsighted people like me leaning over the guard rail trying to read the information and get a look at the stitching. However, for me as an exhibitor, I am happy that my quilts are protected from dirty hands and that they will not be stolen.

    If you are in need of volunteers, an arrangement might be possible with the guild to help out in exchange for allowing them a venue for selling their raffle tickets.

    To get exhibitors it may help to solicit guilds, senior centers, church quilting groups, etc. with a personal visit or a publication showing the categories and personally inviting them. If you emphasize where the mission of the fair corresponds with their group mission, they may see the value more clearly.

    Finally, I would recommend making sure that the groups, as well as all quilt shops in the area, are provided with a stack of fair premium booklets a few months ahead of time.

    Best wishes!

    Dayle

  7. #7
    Super Member
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    I'd love to see a category at quilt shows for 'everyday quilts' - like the ones we make for our family to use and love to tatters!

    It's nice to see all the gorgeous quilts we usually see, but most of us don't make 'show' quilts. I'd like to see the everyday quilts with a picture of the person who is in charge of loving it to tatters.

    Also, a 'first quilt made' category would be fun to walk through.

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I'm the chairman for the quilt department at our fair. This is my first year as chairman. Fortunately a whole lot of the work has already been done in previous years. They changed the categories and classes some last year. They have a system to hang the quilts from the ceiling so they're visible and safe at the same time. The judging is done the day the quilts are entered and they're hung the next day. This is done before any booths are set up in the building so it's 3 to 4 days before the fair opens and then the quilts aren't taken down until the day after the fair closes and all the booths are taken down.

    We have a pretty good size guild here so there's lots of help on entry and hanging day. Some years there are a whole lot of quilts and some years there aren't as many.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Robinlee's Avatar
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    I've done this for a few years.............That said and agreeing with the others, you need to get some sponsor's. LQS, JoAnn's, Hancock's or even Hobby Lobby. The biggest sponsor for one fair, was the Guild I was in, I got them involved and they sponsor a $50.00 gift card with a "Very BIG" basket of notion's, fabrics etc.... donated from members. This county fair was like this one till about 2002, now, the quild does the basket, they get sponsor's for Adults, Seniors, Beginner's and Youth places , Best of Show and People's choice. Choose a Judge from another county or out-of-area. It is easier on them and your particpants. Work with your local and area newspapers. And your FCS (Home Ec Dept) at Jr & Sr High Schools, specially if the teacher is a quilter - the youth would love to enter and volunteer to assist your group.

    In my past life I was a Extension Agent, so I have loads of suggestions and been apart of local county and state fair's for year's.

    You can even contact Ginghar scissor's and a few of the big-name fabric companies to help with prises. Don't be afraid to go as far as 100 miles from your town for sponsor's, the participant's probably drive somewhere to get fabric and such and it just gives you alittle more possibilities for assistance.
    "We can never have too much fabric" and "May the Fabric Fairy always keep your stash filled".

    Robinlee

  10. #10
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinlee View Post
    I've done this for a few years.............That said and agreeing with the others, you need to get some sponsor's. LQS, JoAnn's, Hancock's or even Hobby Lobby. The biggest sponsor for one fair, was the Guild I was in, I got them involved and they sponsor a $50.00 gift card with a "Very BIG" basket of notion's, fabrics etc.... donated from members. This county fair was like this one till about 2002, now, the quild does the basket, they get sponsor's for Adults, Seniors, Beginner's and Youth places , Best of Show and People's choice. Choose a Judge from another county or out-of-area. It is easier on them and your particpants. Work with your local and area newspapers. And your FCS (Home Ec Dept) at Jr & Sr High Schools, specially if the teacher is a quilter - the youth would love to enter and volunteer to assist your group.

    In my past life I was a Extension Agent, so I have loads of suggestions and been apart of local county and state fair's for year's.

    You can even contact Ginghar scissor's and a few of the big-name fabric companies to help with prises. Don't be afraid to go as far as 100 miles from your town for sponsor's, the participant's probably drive somewhere to get fabric and such and it just gives you alittle more possibilities for assistance.

    We don't have any sponsors and and I don't think they're really necessary for our fair. The fair gives ribbons and the guild gives a people's choice prize for the large quilt category and a prize for the small quilt category.

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