The 2016 South Florida Fair, Jan. 15-31, marks 30 years that the Palm Beach County Quilters’ Guild has been partnering with the Fair to promote knowledge of and interest in quilt making. The workmanship and creativity of dozens of quilts are showcased during the fair along with activities and demonstrations for both children and adults.
“Throughout its 30 years in Palm Beach County, the Guild has donated well over 200 quilts a year to support our local community,” said Candice Phelan, the Guild’s current president. “Each year we present about 25 personalized quilted wall hangings to new Habitat for Humanity homeowners and donate about 50 child-size quilts to Project Linus. Our members also make quilts for the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center and for hospitalized children through Ryan’s Case for Smiles.”
The Guild’s biggest fundraiser is the “Opportunity to Own” quilt, “Things with Wings” which is displayed at the Fair. Tickets are sold during the fair for $1 each, or $5 for six tickets, and the proceeds help fund their community outreach projects.
Every year the Guild holds a quilt-block contest with the winners’ creations becoming a part of a quilt that is prominently displayed in Building Five during the Fair. The theme for this year’s Fair and quilt is Palm Beach County. Various Guild members assemble the blocks to form the quilt, which will become one of 30 that make up the Guild’s permanent collection.
“Maintaining a collection of this magnitude is most unusual for a local quilt guild,” said Sandie Pike, the Guild’s curator. “Year after year another quilt was made, and the collection evolved.”
Because each quilt contains 15 to 20 12-inch blocks, each made by a different person, the collection includes the work of hundreds of quilters showing their own individual methods, skills, and interpretations of that year’s theme.
In addition, the Guild organizes a kid’s corner and offers quilt-related activities for children every day of the Fair, at Spookyville, the Spring Music Jam, and last year, at Summer Camp. Every year hundreds of children submit activity drawings that are used as inspiration for the Project Linus quilts. Demonstrations are given in the art of making personalized quilted wall hangings for Habitat for Humanity families and cheerful pillowcases for the “Ryan’s Case for Smiles” charity. Fair visitors may also watch Guild members demonstrate hand-quilting techniques while working on a homemade quilt frame.
“We receive great personal satisfaction seeing our family, friends and fairgoers coming by and oohing and aahing over our quilts every year, and enjoy the children engaged in our children’s activities,” said Nancy Ialacci, the Guild’s past president. “Our members are generous with their time and talent to support our community while doing something they love.”
The Palm Beach County Quilters’ Guild is open to everyone interested in quilts from quilt makers to quilt appreciators. All kinds of quilting, including traditional, modern, and art quilt designs as well as a variety of approaches are welcome. For more information, visit their website at http://www.palmbeachquilters.org, or look for them on Facebook.
The South Florida Fair is produced by the South Florida Fair/Palm Beach County Expositions, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and is located at 9067 Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach. The 2016 dates are Jan. 15-31. Buildings open from noon – 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Martin Luther King Day on Mon., Jan. 18, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 31. Carnival rides open one hour after the Fair opens each day. Carnival rides close at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; midnight Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 561-793-0333 or visit the website, http://www.southfloridafair.com.