The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) announced Friday, April 24, that the organization will cancel the events for the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show was scheduled for Saturday, July 11.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our volunteers, guests, and all community members and as such we are following the best health protocols at this time. Sadly, that includes restructuring what our show day will look like,” Dawn Boyd, executive director of SOQS stated.

For 45 years the event has blanketed the entire town with up to 1,400 quilts, offering a rainbow of art and color and welcoming many thousands of visitors who travel here from around the world. This year’s show will be reimagined into a virtual experience. SOQS guests will be able to see many of the same exhibits and quilt displays that are already planned, but they will enjoy show day online from the safety of their homes.

“Ultimately, the SOQS board is committed to celebrating our 45th Anniversary this year,” Boyd said. “This may look different from previous years, but we will continue to embrace the beauty and art of quilting with everyone.”

Boyd noted that making the call to cancel was driven in part by the need to plan for an alternative.

“To do something and do it well, you need to have something to aim for,” she said.

Boyd and the SOQS board are fully cognizant of the economic impact a cancellation will have. Many of Sisters’ retail businesses and restaurants report that the Quilt Show is the high-point of their sales season.

“My heart hurts for our local businesses,” Boyd said.

In a Facebook post, Valori Wells expressed her sorrow and resolution:

“It was the hardest decision but the best one under the circumstances,” she wrote. “This afternoon it has really hit me. I was almost 2 when my mom started the show and three years later Quilter’s Affair, I don’t remember a July that wasn’t filled with quilters and quilts. As the tears flow I think of how much I will miss everyone and all the creative energy that fills our community that week, the smiling faces and laughter.... all the quilts and endless inspiration! Thank you to everyone who has ever attended our events, I am grateful for you and I hope to see everyone next year!”

In the days since the announcement of the cancellation, Boyd reported that the organization has received “lots of support — that’s the good thing. The response has been very supportive and understanding.”

SOQS will continue to post updates on virtual show day activities via their social media accounts and website, www.soqs.org.