Sisters is expected to be wrapped in a blanket of hot, sunny summer weather for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday, July 12.
Quilters from all over the world come to Sisters for a week of classes and fellowship, capped by the largest show of its kind in the nation - a show that wraps all of downtown Sisters in colorful fabric.
A record 1,400 quilts will be hung by volunteers on Saturday morning as downtown Sisters fills with thousands of quilting enthusiasts. Those who seek a more leisurely exposure to the art can enjoy special exhibits featuring some 400 quilts on Sunday.
The Quilt Show is a major economic engine for Sisters, infusing more than $1 million into the local economy. For many downtown merchants, the enthusiastic shoppers who attend the show make it by far the biggest retail weekend of the year.
Executive Director Jeanette Pilak notes that a total of 523 volunteers stage the show. About 30 percent of those are visitors to the community, "many of whom have been coming for decades. It's great - now they are bringing their 20-somehting kids and family to train them."
Quilting has evolved into an art form as varied and vibrant as those who practice it. Visitors to the Quilt Show will see traditional quilts that look as though they came here on the Oregon Trail as well as quilts that look like paintings and abstract creations in fabric.
Several special exhibits will be featured. Perhaps the most compelling one is the Quilted in Honor by Island Batik, a traveling display of quilts crafted in honor of military veterans and in support of Operation Homefront, which aids veterans and their families in need.
Pilak noted that the Sisters show is one of 19 venues across the nation for the display.
"The men at the Quilt Show - who are usually tagging along with the ladies - stay for ours at the exhibit," she said.
She noted that many veterans have taken up longarm quilting as a kind of therapy.
Along similar lines, Pilak noted, "We have our local fabric challenge,
Stars Over Sisters Challenge quilts, sponsored by the Stitchin' Post, hanging in Beacham's Clock Co. These quilts made for the challenge will be judged by Sisters veterans Brett Miller and John Ferguson and veteran quilter Ann Richardson.
"Judges will score quilts based on best interpretation of the theme, best design, and best use of color. Viewers may vote for their favorite quilt in this challenge by going to Beacham's clock shop (300 W. Hood Ave.) Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to cast their vote. A cash prize of $100 will be given to the creator of the quilt winning the viewer's choice award."
Sunday's events include a demonstration by Angela Walters at FivePine Lodge and Conference Center at the east end of Sisters.
"She has a camera on her longarm machine," Pilak noted. "It's a lecture/demonstration as she works."
With temperatures expected to hit the 90s, visitors are advised to drink plenty of fluids and take frequent rest stops as they enjoy the displays.
Cascade Avenue through downtown Sisters will be closed for the event, making it easy for pedestrians to enjoy the multitude of examples of the quilters' art form.