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Outdoor quilt show charms record-setting crowd

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Thousands of people descended on Ashton Gardens for the third annual Garden of Quilts last Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 16-18. After a subdued event in 2020, quilters enjoyed classes, presentations, trunk shows, venders, spectacular flowers and hundreds or quilts on display.

“I’m selling ticket after ticket after ticket,” said Joyce Garcia, manager of Ashton Gardens, on Friday, Sept. 17. “The gift shop wasn’t even supposed to be open last night, and they made $1,400.” Garcia noticed more men and families attending Garden of Quilts this year, too. “People are ready to get out.” 

“We saw a huge influx of out-of-state individuals – a lot of tourists this year,” said Sami Firth, manager of strategic accounts at Riley Blake, sponsor and co-founder with Karen Ashton of the event. More than a thousand people attendedMissouri Star Jennie Doan’s trunk show at the show barn on Thursday evening, Sept. 16.

Attendees could sign up for classes to learn new quilting techniques or embroidery, but they could also join a service project in progress.

“I wanted to do something to give back. It started snowballing and I realized that everyone wants to serve, but they don’t know what to do. We started providing service projects,” explained Krysti-ann Wright, founder of Stitching Hearts Worldwide.Wright reached out to the quilting community and quickly found organizations in need of help. Today, Stitching Hearts Worldwide has projects like creating sleeping mats made of grocery bags for the homeless, baby bundles for the United Way and disposable masks for local refugee children.

Stitching Hearts Worldwide had a tent which was steps away from the concession booth with quilts for auction and opportunities for volunteering. “You can only make so many quilts for yourself,” said Wright with a laugh. “I’ve always loved giving. It makes me feel good.”

“I’ve been volunteering at Thanksgiving Point for 11 years. I’m a quilter and I have a group that has been meeting every Tuesday for years. I came today to serve and do whatever they need me to do – except make more masks!” said Patty Davis, a Lehi resident volunteering at Garden of Quilts.

Becky Telford from Logan brought several members of her family to search for eight of her quilts and daughter Anna’s one quilt in the gardens. “It is a great feeling to turn a corner and see your work displayed in such a beautiful place. Everyone needs a win like that!” said Telford.

Telford also met some of her quilting heroes like Jenny Doan and her daughters Misty and Natalie and Riley Blake designers Carina Gardner and Tasha Noel. “Garden of Quilts is definitely a cup-filler and I’ll be back every year,” said Telford.

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