By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
The Sisters Quilt Show is the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers cancelled the event late last week, but announced an effort to keep it alive in virtual reality.
For 45 years the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show has blanketed Sisters with over 1,000 quilts displayed on buildings all through the town and captured the imagination of all kinds of people. The event is so popular it averages 10,000 people the second Saturday in July… but not this year.
“Because we are an open event, there’s no ticketed door. There’s no way to limit how many people would come in. That’s what led our decision,” said Dawn Boyd, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Executive Director. “It hurts our hearts. We know that during that whole week, Quilters Affair going on and then during show day, that it is good for local businesses.”
Cancellation of the quilt show is an estimated $1.7 million loss to the town. Sisters already lost the rodeo, amounting to a one-two punch to the town’s summer season visitor-based economy.
“All of our teachers but two can come back next year so we just created a do-over. A lot of our participants are ones that have come for years and they are willing to do that so that’s helping us out a lot,” said Valori Wells Kennedy, Stitchin’ Post co-owner
This year’s Quilt Show will be a virtual event, so that many of the quilts people have been working on for months will see the light of day, and some will be for sale.
“Some quilters do a great job sending their own photos to us. Some do want help so we encourage them to reach out to someone in their community. Or, there’s always those grand kids who are so smart with technology. We are hoping this will be a way to broaden the beauty of quilting to a lot of people,” Boyd said.
The Stitchin’ Post, considered by many to be ground-zero for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, will honor the day this year’s event was scheduled.
“We plan on hanging 12 quilts outside our shop on quilt show day in honor of the first quilt show my mom did. So, 12 family quilts, we’ll do it again,” Valori Wells Kennedy said.
This year’s outdoor quilt show will be re-imagined into a virtual experience. Many of the same displays and quilts that are normally hung from the store fronts will be posted on line so people can see them from the safety of their homes.