Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Paducah: AQS show cannot be stopped!

The AQS staff pulled off a miracle last week and presented the Paducah show in all its glory.
In case you don't understand what the problem was, this is it:
The building is the Convention Center, and the thing in front of it is the flood wall...with the gates installed.
If you've been to the quilt show, you've probably walked through here many times and didn't even think about it.
But when the Ohio River started rising due to Spring rain and snow melt-off, the city officials decided to put the floodgates up to protect the town. That gave the AQS staff about 12 hours to figure out if...and where...the show could be held. They managed to visit locations around the city and put together the deals needed to provide the all the required space for classes, quilts and vendors.

First Baptist Church must be the biggest venue in town, and certainly was a great place for all the classes, lectures and the wall quilts. This is one of Sue Nichol's quilts in the Chapel where the lectures were held.
Members of the church turned out to help show-goers find their way around the building and to provide some very good food.
The buses had to run extra hard duty, as the church is on the other side of town from the Pavilion (also known as the Bubble or Marshmellow). That's where all the large quilts from the Expo Hall ended the vendors from that room.
Special exhibits were shown with the remaining vendors at two empty buildings out near the mall: the former Office Max housed the ones which had been in the Pavilion, and the old Circuit City held the ones from the Convention Center ballrooms.
Nothing was missing:
The Boy Scouts' strawberry shortcake was in full supply at the Food Tent, conveniently located in the Farmers' Market lot across from the National Quilt Museum. I see Eleanor Burns knows a good advertising opportunity!

Despite the continuing bad tornado-spawning weather through Wednesday night, the sun was out for the rest of the show and everyone had a marvelous time. I talked with two ladies from Pennsylvania who were in Paducah for their first visit. They had been to many other shows, and were totally enjoying this one.
Maybe ignorance is bliss, but I believe the truth is that this show is so good and so well-run that even with trials and tribulations it still comes off as the
best show in the country.
This is the Pavilion, AKA The Bubble or Marshmellow! It's an inflatable building on a permanent concrete foundation...which acts as a handy seat both inside and out. How does it stay up? With giant air pumps and airlock-style doors.
I got this "action shot" while DeLuna and I were sneaking around to the back entrance! Well, what else can you do when a giant tour bus unloads right before you get to the door? It helps to know the lay of the land.
Meanwhile, inside the Bubble (most popular name this year) it looks like this:
The light is nice and most of the time it is spacious. If it gets too crowded, you just leave and head over to get some strawberry shortcake...which will be closer next year, as the food tent should be back in front of the Convention Center.
What? You want to know about the quilts?
OK, here's the best of show:
So that must be the Best Quiltmaker, Pat Holly! "Paisley Peacock" came from the Large Wall Quilts, Home Sewing Machine Quilted category. The workmanship is splendid...tiny buttonhole stitching around all the zillions of shapes. Believe me, the machine does NOT "do it all for you"!!!
She often works with her sister Sue Nichols. They have several quilts in the museum, including the ever-popular "Beatles Quilt".

More Paducah adventures to follow...but until then, to see pictures of the winning quilts:
While you are there, look over on the left side of the home page and click on the AQS blog for Bonnie Browning's tales of how the show was saved and the judging done during a tornado alert!

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