Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 'sews' anticipation

Thousands to pour into town for 38th annual show

Sisters gears up for annual quilt show

SISTERS, Ore. - On Saturday the small city of Sisters will be flooded with about 12,000 people--'sewing' about  $2 million into the local economy.

"I was just excited like a little kid. And I just love it," Sunriver quilting enthusiast Nancy Fischer said Wednesday.

A show volunteer said she loves hearing the stories behind the quilts.

"Little girls that have made their first quilt, and they're just smiling from ear to ear, that's the best part," she said.

Anticipation for Sisters' biggest day of the year is growing.

"The Sisters Quilt Show is the largest outdoor quilt show in the world." said the show's executive director, Ann Richardson. " It's a part of people's lives and it's on their bucket lists."

On Wednesday, volunteers were putting on the finishing touches, businesses were gearing up and the hard-core quilters were already in town.

"The week of classes called 'Quilters Affair' has about 1,200 students," Richardson said.

Students had the option to choose from among dozens of classes and take lectures and tours.

"You feed off each other," said student and Florida resident Barbara Plough.  "You might not learn from your teacher, but you'll learn from your neighbor."

My mother and grandmother started taking me to the Sisters Quilt Show when I was just 7. There's two things we always do: We pick out our favorite quilts, and we get ice cream.

And local parlors expect to scoop a lot of it this weekend.

"We're going to go through a lot," said B.J.'s Ice Cream employee Meganne Englich-Mills. "We're making waffle cones every day and stocking up."

The owner of Melvin's Fir Street Market likes the Halloween-themed quilts; many spooky quilts will hang outside his building on Saturday.

"It's kind of a necessary evil," owner Melvin Herburger said of the big show. "It's one of the days you plan for all year long and stress out over. And when it gets here, you're thankful, when you look at the sales at the end of the day."

Businesses are stoked for the crowds and quilters are excited to see all the final pieces come together.

"It's fun to stand by your quilt, and people don't realize it's yours, and you hear people say, 'Oh my gosh -- how beautiful!'" Fischer said.

If you're planning on attending the show Saturday, organizers suggest you get there  as early as possible.

If you're not into the big crowds, there's the 'Save it for Sunday' event that Richardson said is less busy.

'Save it for Sunday' will run Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the FivePine Lodge and Conference Center.

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