Wild Blueberry Festival brings annual quilt show

Hope Bridgewater bworks@amherstdaily.com
Published on September 9, 2010
During the Wentworth United Church Wild Blueberry Quilt Fair and Tea, baby Alexander Cochrane, aged 11 months, examines the prize-winning favourite quilt “Cathedral Windows,” created by Bev Peck of Amherst. Baby Alexander is the son of the United Church minister, Steven Cochrane and his wife, Melissa. Contributed

WENTWORTH - During the 2010 wild blueberry season in August and September, the Wentworth United Church Women held a Wild Blueberry Quilt Fair and Tea at the Wentworth United Church for two days in August from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The themes of wild blueberries and quilts were intertwined: UCW members wore t-shirts with blueberries represented; pamphlets on wild blueberries and festivals were available; guest exhibitors highlighted decorated blueberry fabrics and showed how honey bees (which pollinate blueberries) and blueberries are featured in food, candles and soap. All this activity was done in an environment featuring over 130 quilts spread dramatically over many church pews and out of which there were seven rows of quilts for sale.

As well as supporting the blueberry industry in Nova Scotia and supporting the health benefits of blueberries, Wentworth United Church Women view this quilt fair as an inspiring way to raise funds for the charities which they support. Also, UCW members have a particular interest in quilting as many of them come to the Wentworth United Church each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to quilt for charity.

Days before the quilt fair, UCW members made phone calls and prepared press releases and advertisements inviting people to display their quilts for two days in Wentworth. On the Tuesday before the quilt fair, UCW members had the quilt exhibitors come to the church to register their quilts and gave each of the quilters a tag for each quilt which showed the name of the quilter, the name of the quilt and the quilting method. All day was spent working at displaying the quilts and preparing all the details for the quilt fair happening on Wednesday and Thursday.

At the quilt fair, UCW members welcomed the public with staff at two reception desks and with tour assistants who showed the public the quilts and who were ready to answer questions. Downstairs, UCW greeters showed the public the dining area and other UCW members served them a lunch of sandwiches and blueberry cheesecake with ice cream and blueberry sauce. There was a friendly social atmosphere abounding as people greeted one another and met friends whom they had not seen for a while.

Members were especially thankful to the exhibitors who came with displays to enhance the wild blueberry theme and the sponsors (some of the exhibitors were also sponsors.) Sponsors who helped the cause of this quilt fair were Appleton Chocolates Company, Debby Lynds, Faye's Country Style Hair Design, Holly's Jazz & Jewlz, Emily's Tattie Take Out, Thompson's Berries, Triple Scoop Ice Cream, Clover Dale Farm, Sandy Rice of Timeless Stitches, Faye Langille of Wentworth Farms, Wildwind All Natural Goat's Milk Soap, and Beth Durkee of Bee Illuminated Chandlery.

An exhibitor from Appleton Chocolates Company, Beth Durkee, displayed Appleton's delicious chocolates made by hand and with many chocolates containing blueberries. Beth also noted in her display the importance of honeybees in pollinating wild blueberries in order to make their growth possible. Beth displayed candles made from beeswax, which comes from cappings which young bees make as they seal each cell of honey in the hive. Beth refines the beeswax made from these cappings to make the candles. Beth says that bees fly 150,000 miles to make one pound of beeswax. Beth also exhibited Wildwind Soap made from goat's milk, which had examples made with a blueberry scent. The jars of honey came from Wentworth Farms owned by Logan and Faye Langille.

Exhibitor Marylyn Rudolph had a display of many beautiful fabrics with blueberry designs. Across the hall, exhibitors Harry and Sandy Rice from River John had tables filled with products of their company Timeless Stitches, a fabric and quilt shop. They had a display of many coloured fabrics, which were 100 per cent cotton. They are also dealers of Pfaff sewing and embroidery machines.

In our guest book, we saw visitors came from the following places in Canada and the U.S.A: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Massachusetts, Arizona and Texas. Members noticed that many more men attended the quilt fair this year. Among the men admiring the quilts were the Hon. Murray Scott, Pastor Steven Cochrane of the Wentworth United Church and Rev. Darryl Dykens of the Wentworth United Baptist Church.

The public voted on "favourite quilt" and, on both Wednesday and Thursday, Bev Peck of Amherst won for her quilt named "Cathedral Windows." Votes were taken on "How many blueberries are in this bottle?" and the winner was Ms. Boyce. Judy Moore of Westchester won the UCW big basket door prize.

The United Church Women of Wentworth were pleased with the wonderful response of the public and were happy that they did their bit for the blueberry industry and the artistry of quilting.