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Quilts in the Panguitch gym at the quilt walk festival.

Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival Keeps Growing

Panguitch and the Quilt Walk have been growing side by side ever since the tradition of holding festivals began in the 1990s. This year the Quilt Walk Festival was held June 5-11.

After vowing to cap the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival at 350 participants, organizers relented and this year’s festival was the biggest it has ever been with 379 individuals registering for classes. Barbara Frandsen Duckett, a locally raised Panguitch-ite commented. “I have been gone (from Panguitch) a long time,” she said. “It was wonderful! I can’t wait until next year.” This type of comment was typical to the fun week ladies have at the festival every year.

This year participants came from as far away as Alaska and Michigan and as close to home as Escalante. They all said they would be back next year.

One of the classes that was the most fun was the beginning sewing class, which many youth took. Whether they had come from around the corner or hitched a ride with grandma from far away, they were all hooked on sewing.

The classes are fantastic with nationally recognized teachers traveling from far and very close to home.

The registration didn’t open as early this year, but things still filled up so fast that they ran out of room. Classes literally filled both the high school and middle school, leaving no room for any more.

Another highlight is the drawing for a beautiful Bernina sewing machine. Susan Potter of West Jordan won the drawing this year.

Other events at the festival included trunk shows at noon, an open sew, and a vendor hall that sold everything from sourdough bread to a “friends of the library” booth. There were truly a variety of wares and fun.

The Sub for Santa Chocolate Fest held Wednesday evening is always a favorite with those just getting into town. It features everything you can imagine, mostly made of chocolate. 

The Quilt Walk Dinner Theater plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday, telling the story of the original Quilt Walk in song and dance. It relates the story of seven men who walked across the frozen snows using quilts as snowshoes to obtain food for starving families left behind. Told in humor and fun through original songs and local talent, the play brings to life the trials of those who came to settle Panguitch. Reservations fill up quickly every year.

Youth and parents get a taste of Panguitch’s pioneer heritage throughout the week with the Heritage Fair, Quilt Walk races, and the Pioneer Home Tours.

The Quilt Walk Festival was born when Panguitch was in dire straits after our large sawmill closed in the 1990s. People moved away looking for work elsewhere and we lost teachers and friends who could not make a living here. Businesses closed and those that stayed open struggled to make ends meet with no way to stay afloat. A group of ladies started the Quilt Walk led by Claudia Crump. Three years later the Balloon Festival was started with proceeds from the Quilt Walk. Later rodeos, ATV festivals, truck shows, motorcycle rallies, car shows, and ball tournaments came along to bring people to town.

Panguitch is currently a thriving community that keeps growing. Thanks to all of the volunteers who give so much for the Quilt Walk and all of our other events. Without these events Panguitch would be a ghost town.

by Elaine Baldwin

Feature image courtesy of Tracy Brooks Wright/Facebook.

Read about last year’s quilt walk here.

Elaine Baldwin – Panguitch

Elaine Baldwin is an Editor/Writer for The Byway. She is the wife of Dale Baldwin, and they have three children, 11 grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Elaine enjoys making a difference in her world. She recently retired after teaching Drama for 20 years at Panguitch High School. She loves volunteering and finds her greatest joy serving in the Cedar City Temple each Friday.