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Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show gets under way early


The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is officially next weekend, but the activities for quilt lovers have already started.

It’s considered the largest outdoor quilt show in the world, and it has a huge economic impact to our area.

Officials tell NewsChannel 21 more than $2.4 million is pumped into our local economy from the events held this week.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 people will visit Sisters come Saturday, but during the week, there’s a large gathering, too.

When you walk into the Sisters High auditorium at 11:30 on a Monday during quilt show week, you see hundreds of quilters.

“I know that this is important to so many of these ladies,” said Laura Simmons, Quilters Affair coordinator. “This is what they save for all year. It’s their big event for the year.”

They’re part of Quilters Affair, a set of quilting classes held during the week.

“The husbands are so supportive,” Simmons said. “They come and carry their sewing machines for them and wave goodbye as they go fishing.”

About 1,200 students will be coming in and out of classes during this week including this family from California.

“It has become a family tradition,” said Judy Moyer, a grandma and quilter. “I have become a quilter, but mostly I like to bring my granddaughters.”

Moyer started going with her daughters in 1990 and since then has brought along her granddaughters.

“No matter what, we do still come,” said Aida Gates. “No matter if we have other plans, we just go — no matter what.”

The family hasn’t stopped attending, even after several moves from Oregon, Tennessee and now from California.

“From Oregon we went to the quilt show,” Fiona Gates said. “In Tennessee, we still went to the quilt show — and now we are coming to the quilt show”

And it’s not just generations of families, but people come from all over, including one instructor from South Africa.

“It’s really important to come to Sisters, ” said Rosalie Dace, who travels back and forth to America and has attended several times.

“To have the warmth and friendliest and the incredible creativity that I see in this part of the world, in exquisite surroundings – I think that’s a real win-win,” Dace said.

And it’s also a win-win for our community too, as the event brings in millions.

“They’ve all got to stay somewhere,” Dace said. “They’ve all got to eat, all got to get here — and then they have to buy the quilts and the quilting fabric, shall I say.”

Simmons said people have come for the first time Monday — and their jaws dropped with the number of events going on.

Tuesday night, there is a calendar premiere party for the “Men Behind the Quilts” calendar — on Thursday, a home and garden show, and Friday, a quilt show at Black Butte Ranch.

All leading up to the big show next Saturday, with 1,400 quilts on display.

One thing you will notice at the quilt show is quilted postcards, and they are more than just beautiful cards.

Wendy’s Wish, a foundation set up through St. Charles, sells and auctions off the postcards to help cancer patients with their expenses.

The foundation is named after a friend, Wendy Huntly, who died from colon cancer six years ago.

It was her wish to educate people about cancer and find ways to help with costs.

The executive director of the quilt show contacted them with the idea, and since than, they have raised more than $50,000.

“This is a perfect tie-in with Wendy and our interest,” said Cindy Pierce, secretary of the foundation. “And to raise money to help people with their expenses.”

Some of the funds help pay for things not covered by insurance, including gas and grocery cards, utility bills and over-the-counter medications.

Some of the works are from as far away as Russia and South Africa.

Wendy’s Wish will be auctioning off some of the postcards in frame on Friday at Sisters High and on Saturday at the quilt show at 3 p.m.

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