From the mayhem of the Demolition Derby to the genteel art of needlework, the La Plata County Fair offered something for everyone Saturday.
The quilt exhibit, organized by the La Plata Quilters Guild, had 91 entries this year, more than in 2015, presenting a panoply of colors, patterns, levels of expertise and sizes and styles.
“We ran out of room, so we started folding them,” said Noel Tambre, who was volunteering at the exhibit Saturday. “Then we ran out of room, so we got out the tables.”
The quilting exhibit is a microcosm of every category of entries in the fair, with organizers responsible for selecting judges, displaying the items and making sure they meet the rules and assuring the safety of the entries until the fair closes Sunday afternoon.
To welcome quilters of all levels of experience, categories include junior – 18 and under; beginner; intermediate – those who have been quilting a little while and have some skills; and advanced, those who have been quilting for some time, teach or make a living quilting, volunteer Barbara Morgan said.
The guild brings in certified judges from the Colorado Quilters Council, and the judges look at everything from the piecing and quilting to borders, appliqué and visual impact.
“One of the judges said where she lives, in Bailey, they didn’t have a single quilt entry in their county fair,” Morgan said. “We clearly don’t have that problem.” Fair attendees get their say, too, as the guild collects People’s Choice ballots throughout the fair. Maika Christensen, who is a newcomer to Durango, won several awards including best first-time submission for her “Wade’s Wave” large quilt. She added a sense of humor to her quilt, sewing in a label that read, “This took forever.”
Others, in the vintage category, have taken squares or a topper created by someone else and finished the quilt. “Sometimes they have a note that tells the story,” Morgan said. “Those can be the most moving.”
Every section of the fair has stories like this to tell, which is what keeps fairgoers returning year after year – well that, and the popcorn, Demolition Derby, Catch-it Contest, carnival and fair royalty. And for those who were wondering, Carolyn Aspromonte, 71, once again won the Home Economics Sweepstakes.