Quilt Week in Paducah came to a close on Saturday evening, ending the 30th year of one of the city's largest events.
The American Quilter's Society's Quilt Week annually brings in about $20 million to Paducah's economy over four days. Graced with perfect weather and high attendance numbers, the AQS called the 30th anniversary show one of the best in history.
"You have to plan like this is the first time you're planning," AQS head Meredith Schroeder said. "Sometimes, because you've done something a lot, you can get lax. But we stay on our toes and do the best that we can. This year everything has gone so smoothly."
The Paducah police, who traditionally have officers patrolling the show's seven-block perimeter and road units working overtime on city streets, said the show has been mostly uneventful. Several fender-benders were reported, with no injuries, Sgt. George Johnson said. The department limited parking this year - last year, parking on the I-24 Business Loop presented safety hazards and made navigating downtown roads tricky - with cones and traffic devices.
"The weather was great, people are in good moods," Johnson said. "It was altogether a normal quilt show for us."
Saturday's quilt show crowd was a mixed bag. The Saturday attendees are, typically, day-trippers, as opposed to the long-range guests who stay in Paducah throughout the week. Edna Turley and her two friends, Leta Latimer and Linda Fooks, all from Cynthiana, said Saturday was their first trip to Paducah.
"We drove the four hours early this morning because we couldn't get a hotel room," Turley said. "I don't know exactly what we expected, but we've been blown away. The quilts are inspiring. We already have plans for next year."
The show will have a different look next year, as construction begins on Paducah's downtown hotel this summer. The hotel construction will replace the Paducah Dome Pavilion, commonly referred to as the bubble, and most of the vendors and displays in the pavilion will transfer to a newly renovated section of the Julian M. Carroll Convention Center. The bubble is up for sale by the city of Paducah.
Attendance numbers won't be completed until later in the week, but the show averages about 30,000 people per year. Ava Allen, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., came to the show on Saturday for the third year in a row. She brought two newcomers in Pat Bockhorst and Cheryl Klueppel.
"With today's fabrics and the vibrant colors, the quilts are works of art," Allen said. "They're gorgeous. They have more time and more talent than I can ever wish for."
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.