If you love the art of quilting, you’re covered: Prep the RV for a trip Sept. 20-22 to Jacksonville. Those are the dates for Quiltfest 2018.
It’s about a 5-hour drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort to the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, where the show is held annually in late September. You can choose from a more rural route via Gainesville or more urban routes through Orlando. (For a side trip, you can probably find something to do in Orlando, don’t you think?)
Now, don’t make the mistake of figuring, Oh, it’s just another quilt show. This is the quilt show in Florida. We’re talking up to 500 entries in the competition every year, with quilt makers competing for parts of $8,000 in prize money. Just walking the aisles and observing provide hours of entertainment.
The show is a good place to see the different styles and techniques that go into quilting. You’ll see quilts from all over the state of Florida and the United States. You can just look and enjoy, you can buy quilts, or you can buy a chance at winning a quilt.
There’s more to do than just watch. If you’re a quilter, attend workshops and demonstrations and maybe learn a thing or three—and share some tips of your own.
The show supports charitable efforts by its organizing clubs, the Seven Sister Guilds. They are quilting clubs from Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, Orange Park and St. Augustine.
A silent auction helps to finance the local Shriners Transportation Fund for transporting children in the area for medical care and treatment. Me Dolls go to local children's hospitals. Receiving pillowcases are Wolfson's Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Clinic and Pedscare as a part of the ConKerr Cancer Project. The Quilters Walk funds the QuiltFest Educational Grant, which supports continuing quilting education by the guilds.
Quilts include those made by individuals, by two people, or by three or more. You’ll find classic patterns; more modern looks; original-design Art Quilts; and quilts that celebrate holidays, including Christmas. There are pieced quilts, large, intermediate and small; and appliquéd quilts, where appliqué covers more than 50 percent of the quilt surface.
Young Quiltmakers’ Quilts are made by those under age 18, or under age 12.
Many quilts are for sale.
Decorative quilts measuring less than 24 inches on each side are donated for the silent auction. You submit your written bid, and you take the quilt home if you’re the high bidder at the close of bids.
Quilting demonstrations are held throughout each day, many staged by some of the 70 vendors who set up at the fest. If there’s a technique you wish to learn, whether for handmade or machine-made quilts, here’s a great place to find out from experienced quilters what you need to know. A schedule of demonstrations appears in the program.
Chances are sold to win one of seven quilts, each donated by a sponsoring quilters guild. You don’t have to be present at the drawing to win.
If you’re bringing your children or grandchildren along—children 10 and younger enter free—the Kids’ Corner gives them a hands-on quilting experience. Participating children may make a quilt block.
Adults who get the urge can sit and sew charity projects, including pillowcases. There also are Me Dolls to be stuffed before they’re sent to children’s hospitals.
You’ll work up an appetite walking the aisles, but there’s no need to leave the convention center for food and drink. A food court is located inside, and there are coffee and snack stands by the demonstration rooms. Across the street from the convention center is a privately owned restaurant serving food from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Days: Thursday, Sept. 20, through Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: Free in convention center lot, accessed off Bay Street.
Image credits: http://www.quiltfestjax.com/