Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A trip to the Kansas State Fair

Sunday, Sept 15 was the last day of the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. At the beginning of the fair I had made the nearly four-hour trek (one way) to take quilts to the fair for myself and seven other women from the guilds I'm in. I picked up a friend half way who rode with me the rest of the way, helped with the check-in, after which we enjoyed supper together before returning home. It was pretty much the same routine this weekend, only I picked up a different quilting friend to ride along and help with the check-out.

When we arrived, as soon as we got out of the car, we looked at each other and knew we should have brought some sunscreen! It was hot and muggy with little shade to be found other than along the noisy midway.

However, as you can see in the above picture, a front moved in about an hour later and dumped more than an inch of rain and hail on us in about an hour's time. I had hoped to wander and take some cool midway pix, but instead had to hustle to get the quilts from the exhibition hall to the car, keeping them as dry as possible (in a wagon wrapped in plastic!), and then hightailed it home!

Anyway, when we arrived, Linda and I made our way to the Domestic Arts building and decided to escape the heat and humidity and enjoy the air conditioning while we enjoyed looking at all of the quilts and needlework items that had been turned in for judging by people from across the state. Several of the women whose items I had delivered to the fair two weeks earlier had won ribbons! It was fun finding them and snapping pictures. Between the skylights and fluorescent lighting in the building, and the plastic wrapped around/over all of the quilts to protect them, the pictures aren't the greatest, but I did my best to capture what I could.

This first quilt is queen size with row after row of perfect flying geese and all long-arm quilted with fabulous feathers down each strip of geese. Kathleen, who did the whole thing, was delighted with her 2rd place ribbon when I delivered it back to her last night.
Kathleen's Christmas wall quilt, which was pieced, embroidered, painted, and custom quilted, took first and Best of Show in its class!
Linda had never entered anything in any event and missed the county fair deadline by just a couple of hours. However, with a great deal of encouragement, she entered several items and took ribbons on nearly everything, including two first place ribbons! Way to go Linda!!!
Linda, grinning from ear to ear, next to her queen size Labyrinth she had made for her son.
Linda's pieced and appliqued quilt got 2rd and had great comments.

Linda hand quilted this one, getting yet another red ribbon.
This mini-quilt, which she hand quilted, went to Afghanistan and back with her son, and now has won a blue ribbon.
We both participated in the QOV block contest, which was open to everyone across the state. Everyone was to use the same block pattern, but could pick their own red, white & blue fabrics and color scheme. There was only one ribbon given for appearance and technique and Linda took it!
This is the display board of all of the QOV blocks that were turned in for this year. These will all be turned into QOV quilts by volunteers to be presented to Kansas veterans. Such an amazing and worthy cause to support!
Only one of my four quilts entered took a ribbon, but I'm pleased as punch that Enlightened Souls was the one to win something! Entering any quilts at the state level puts you in a much larger pool of quilters, so taking any ribbon is exciting. This is a very special, original design quilt that I made for a friend, who graciously loaned it back to me to put in the fairs and quilt shows this year. This quilt won blue ribbons in two county fairs and Reserve Grand Champion at one of them, and now second place at state. Woohoo!!! It will be finding its way back to California to Adele before the end of the year to its permanent home with a new label listing what shows it was in and awards won this year.

 Two other gals from our guild also won ribbons. Joan took second on her miniature churn dash that she made at the last minute to enter (I think it's about 15" square).
And Sharon won first on her twilling embroidered table runner and third on her English smocked dress.

After looking at all of the great quilts and other items, it was time to head to the car to get the wagon, claim tickets, and various bags to put all of these quilts into when we returned for check-out. The building was to be cleared and locked at 5pm and reopened at 6pm to let people pick up their items. About 4pm we noticed the rain had started and was dumping like crazy (Weatherbug reported rain was falling at a rate of 3" per hour!). With thunder crashing and lightening flashing, we waited for a lull and about 4:30 we headed out to the parking lot. By the time we got to the cars, it had started again and we sat there for probably 20 minutes waiting for the lightening, at least, to subside so we could make a dash back onto the fairgrounds.
Looking out the window of the metal building we waited in, watching people make mad dashes towards the parking lot!
We got within a block of the Domestic Arts building when it started hailing! We hightailed it into the first open door we saw, which the fair security guy quickly closed behind us. The sound was outrageous being in a metal building with rain, hail, wind, and the nearby thunder! Once again we waited, probably another 20 minutes at least, before the cloud burst passed and we could continue on our way.
Just for fun we took shots of each other inside the metal building while we waited. Linda got her husband's coat and an umbrella when we got to the cars to help on the way back from the parking lot. I borrowed her hat and the umbrella for part of the walk, but mostly just got soaked to the skin.

The plastic ponchos came out of backpacks or were purchased on the midway for last minute protection.
Just across the alley from the Domestic Arts building, water pooled in the street nearly a foot deep!
We enjoyed watching this little guy walk right through the middle of the puddle, still ankle deep on him.
The fair staff came out about 5:30 and announced they had been told by the fair administration office to open the building and let everyone in so those waiting to pick up items wouldn't be left outside in the rain & lightening. So, we moved our line inside and waited for the check-out to begin promptly at 6pm. According to one friend who had been through this process before, we made it through check-out in record time, being fully loaded and on the road by 7:30pm. Everything made it safely to the car without getting wet and was then delivered back to their respective owners.
The sunset behind me as I left Hutchinson was spectacular as I headed back towards northeast Kansas. Viewing all of the quilts entered by quilters from across the state of Kansas was great fun and provided much inspiration. Running like a kid through the rain and attempting to dodge puddles ankle deep (my shoes are still wet two days later) was an adventure. I'm so glad I was able to attend this year and take part in the fun!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

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