March 21-25, 2017, event to feature displays, classes, appraisals and first-time Western-themed entertainment
More than 500 artfully designed and carefully stitched quilts will compete for more than $20,000 in prize money at the 23rd A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge next spring. The five-day event, one of biggest of its kind in the U.S., is March 21-25, 2017.
A Mountain Quiltfest will feature more than 60 classes and lectures about America’s popular folk art taught by world-class instructors. There is a fee for classes, but admission to the quilt displays and a vendor mall is free.
New in 2017, award-winning cowgirl poet Yvonne Hollenbeck and “the first lady of Western music” Jean Prescott will present five classes at A Mountain Quiltfest. Performing together, Hollenbeck and Prescott share the history of the Western prairie through song and poetry alongside historic photographs of quilters as well as generations-old quilts, including Hollenbeck’s collection of family quilts that spans 140 years. A free session hosted by the duo on March 23 at noon features Hollenbeck’s collection of aprons made from vintage feed sacks.
“A Mountain Quiltfest showcases how quilts were born of necessity and pieced from scrap fabric and feed sacks and have evolved into decorative masterpieces that are artfully designed, displayed and collected today,” said Butch Helton, manager of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism’s special events office, which organizes the activity along with the Piecemakers and Sevier Valley Quilters guilds.
Twenty quilt categories will be displayed, including ones with this year’s special theme – two fabrics.
Displays and the festival’s classes, demonstrations and special activities are in the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, the city’s 232,000-square-foot events facility.
In addition to the classes, many people visit A Mountain Quiltfest to get appraisals of quilts that are family heirlooms.
Candace St. Lawrence, an American Quilter’s Society certified appraiser, will appraise quilts on March 21, 23, 24 and 25 by appointment. (Make appointments by contacting Lana Bowes at 865-429-7350 or lbowes@CityOfPigeonForge.com.)
Several antique quilt bed turnings are scheduled during the event. These are sessions where local quilters and guild members offer detailed information about collections of quilts made before 1966.