News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Quilt Show planning to move ahead

The path isn’t completely clear yet, but Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) Executive Director Dawn Boyd reports the outlook is positive for a modified show Saturday, July 10.

SOQS has submitted a health and safety plan for the outdoor event, and Boyd said that the City of Sisters has indicated that it is satisfied with it. The Deschutes County Health Department has to sign off, but that is not expected to be a major hurdle, Boyd told The Nugget.

“We’ve had very, very positive feedback on the process,” Boyd said. “I believe it’s going to be two or three weeks before we get that final stamp of approval, but we’re going to move forward with plans as though we’re going to get that stamp of approval.”

Sisters City Manager Cory Misely confirmed that, while the sign-off is in the hands of the County Health Department, the City of Sisters is happy with the Quilt Show’s plans.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We want it to happen.”

He also noted that everyone anticipates that the state will be “in a much better place” regarding COVID-19 by July, which contributes to the sense of optimism.

While the event isn’t happening for another eight weeks, it takes a lot of time and work to ramp up for the event, even at a modified scale. The organization could not delay a decision on moving ahead any longer.

Plans currently call for about 50 percent of the usual amount of quilts to be on display, more widely separated than they ordinarily would be to promote physical distancing. That means there will be some 500 to 600 quilts. There won’t be any on Main Avenue, and a limited number on Cascade Avenue, with most of the show being displayed on Hood Avenue.

“Probably just over half of the quilts will be part of special exhibits,” Boyd said.

The annual educational component of the program, Quilters Affair, will be held virtually this year, as will the international Tentmakers of Cairo special fundraising event on the Wednesday before the show.

Boyd noted that virtual events pioneered with last year’s cancellation have proved to have some positive benefits — allowing people who would not likely be able to attend the show to participate in classes or events online. SOQS is inclined to preserve those positive benefits going forward, even with the eventual full return of the physical show.

“I kind of think that from now on, virtual will be a component of the Quilt Show,” Boyd said.

Boyd said SOQS expects a smaller turnout than in a normal year, when many thousands come to town to view the largest outdoor quilt show in the country. But, given the circumstances, everyone seems confident that, despite a long and difficult journey through a pandemic that has yet to end, the show will go on.

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Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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