Nfld. & Labrador

Quilt festival a reason to visit Bay de Verde and get a warm welcome, organizer says

This summer marks the inaugural Festival of Quilts, taking place from Friday to Sunday in Bay de Verde.

Organizer expects 60 to 70 quilters to partake, with upward of 100 quilts on display

As many as 100 quilts will be on display this weekend during the inaugural Bay de Verde Festival of Quilts. (Vicky Mossy Jeans/Facebook)

You've heard of music festivals. You've heard of food festivals. What about a quilt festival?

This summer marks the inaugural Festival of Quilts, taking place from Friday to Sunday in Bay de Verde, which will have quilters from all over showing off their skills and their pieces of work in the small Conception Bay community. 

"It's a celebration of maker culture, specifically quilt culture in the Bay De Verde, Red Head Cove, Grates Cove area," festival organizer Deena Riggs told CBC Radio's Weekend AM.

Riggs said the idea of the festival is to give artists, creators and tourists a reason to visit the area — and to give them a warm welcome once they get there.

Festival organizer Deena Riggs says quilters are 'legends in their communities' for being able to create without wasting anything. (Francie Broaders Riggs/Facebook)

The festival is also representative of Newfoundland and Labrador heritage and culture where the creator uses materials available, without waste, to create something useful. 

"Quilt makers are legends in their communities.… Every part of a scrap of material is used to make beautiful, useful quilts," Riggs said. 

That's a lot of quilts

Riggs said she expects to see as many as 100 quilts on display during the weekend's festivities, many of which will be held inside the churches of Bay de Verde.

She said 40 to 50 local quilters have shown up, with more from across the province expected to head into town to create and share ideas.

"We're looking at probably upwards of 60 or 70. Hopefully 100. We'll see," Riggs said.

Organizers want the festival to grow and be able to reach quilters across the world. (Jackie Broderick/Facebook)

What's more, there are three different categories pertaining to the quilts on display.

General quilts, storied quilts — those which have a meaningful tale attached to them — and small wall quilts in the theme of the ocean will brighten up the community and have quilters talking. 

"I'm overwhelmed by the response on a beautiful, creative level," Riggs said. 

Miniature quilts will drape the light poles of the community. Others will hang from clotheslines and fences. 

Riggs calls it a "photographer's dream" with the backdrop of Bay de Verde, adding she can't wait to welcome people to the area.

And, there's no stopping here.

Riggs sees the festival growing into something much bigger, and reaching across the globe to welcome quilters to Newfoundland and Labrador.

"This is definitely on the agenda for the next 10 years," she said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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