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Annual Thanksgiving Point quilt show draws crowd despite obstacles



The second annual Garden of Quilts at Thanksgiving Point’s Ashton Gardens was much different than its 2019 debut event, but a thunderstorm warning and a pandemic couldn’t stop cooped-up quilters from enjoying the spectacular gardens, amazing quilts and each other.

Riley Blake Designs, a fabric manufacturer based in Alpine, Utah, and Thanksgiving Point once again put on the hugely popular outdoor quilt show. At the end of June, Riley Blake Designs announced that Garden of Quilts would go on without classes, and with a limited number of vendors. Attendees also enjoyed an indoor display of 12 landscape quilts by the late Nancy Zieman as part of the 2020 show.

“There was a steady stream of people at our booth on Friday and I thought the rain would deter people on Saturday morning, but people were walking around even without umbrellas. Quilters were so thrilled to be there and bump into old friends – they didn’t seem to notice the rain,” said Carmen Geddes, founder of Ten Sisters Handicraft. Geddes had a covered booth near the currently drained waterfall demonstrating her Easy Piecing Grid. There were about a dozen vendors lined up in tents along the top of the amphitheater by the waterfall.

Cloward and the vendors and volunteers agreed that Thanksgiving Point’s events team created magic with Garden of Quilts. “Not all venues are like this – the Riley Blake and Thanksgiving Point staffs were always riding around making sure we were good and that we had what we needed. We didn’t feel a drop of rain under our tent, either,” added Geddes.

Garden of Quilts was open on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19. Tickets were issued with time windows to allow for social distancing. Quilts were hung between trees, from giant easels on the grass, and from the arbor near the Rose Garden. Karen Ashton had antique quilts from her personal collection hanging in the Secret Garden. Children’s-themed quilts hung around the Carousel, including a Minecraft quilt and one with superhero face-mask blocks. Christmas quilts were arranged together on one green and a row of quilts with heart shapes hung between the trees on a line.

“We are so grateful that despite the pandemic, and crazy Utah weather, the second annual Garden of Quilts was a success,” said Cindy Cloward, creative director/owner of Riley Blake Designs. Friday was a perfectly mild, late summer day, but Saturday was windy with rain that threatened to turn into a thunderstorm. 

“We appreciate the quilters who shared their talents and beautiful quilts with all of us,” Cloward said. “Garden of Quilts is truly a labor of love for us and we look forward to ‘laboring’ for years to come.”

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