Central Oregon

Sisters gears up for busiest weekend of year

Sisters Quilt Show brings 12,000 visitors

Sisters ready for quilt crowds

It's a busy weekend ahead for Sisters, bringing quilt lovers from all over the world together.

"This is our eleventh year," Lorna Hunter from Scotland said Friday.

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is one of the biggest events in Central Oregon. This year,  organizers are expecting around 12,000 visitors. For a town like Sisters, that means six times its own population.

City officials say they're ready.

"This is their 39th year," said Mayor Brad Boyd. "Everything is pretty dialed in. The quilt show people, they work with the fire people, they work with ODOT, they work with the sheriff's department."

Meanwhile, organizers have a helping hand.

"The quilt show is blessed to have more than 515 volunteers who work months, weeks and days before the quilt show and get up early, crack of dawn on Saturday and do about 900 different jobs for us," said Jeanette Pilak, executive director for the event.

The quilt show is also of serious economic importance for Sisters.

Organizers estimate that visitors spent around $1.7 million in Central Oregon last year. Many of them are visitors who would not have come to the High Desert if it was not for the quilt show.

"Heavens yes! People are so excited to get here," said Vaunell Temple, a coordinator with Quilters Affairs. "And we get people that say, 'I've been wanting to come, I can't believe I'm here!'"

More than 50 percent of attendees are out-of-state visitors, and only 4 percent are from Sisters.

"I know for some retailers it's a game-changer," said Boyd.

The quilt show is not just a weekend event anymore.  It stretches over the whole week. In its 39th year, it is a staple in Sisters.

"I know of people who have moved here because they've discovered Sisters through the quilt show," Boyd said.

True quilt lovers are already getting ready for next year.

"We're already planning for next year, what restaurants we're going to," Hunter said

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