Mountain Quiltfest 2021: the Review


its time to tell you all about the Mountain Quiltfest, which you might remember was our very first retail show since the MAQF was held in late Feb 2020.

First of all, the LeConte Convention Center is a magnificent facility and the entire staff & volunteers were wonderful hosts!

The MQF is a much smaller show than we are accustomed to vending at, but we’ve always heard good reviews about it. One thing I was impressed with immediately was the incredibly WIDE aisles which is a huge departure from the narrow aisles of other shows which easily become choked with customers. We had a steady stream of customers, but at no time did we have long lines of impatient customers waiting to check out.
We used a new & different setup plan for this show for which I had created copious notes and I’m glad I did because we only had one day to load in and set up & that was after a late start due to horrific thunderstorms which soaked us to the skin! I was however REALLY pleased with the new setup and there’s very little I’ll change as of right now when we go to Houston in October!
And because I had FOUR new designs to highlight for this show, I placed them all on the display table closest to my sales area which is a total departure from past shows where I tend to place my smaller bags & here’s what I noticed… for some reason, this area stayed remarkably neat & tidy. There were honestly very few times I had to come out of the booth and straighten bags up. (And also*** Please notice my hanging mannequins on the back wall of the booth wearing our ErgoMatic & Side Slinger samples. This worked out excellently!)
Because of this change, I placed my smaller, older sample on this long, low, side display area where they were continously in disarray (which is normal), but since this area is totally accessible to me from INSIDE the booth, it was SO much easier & less aggravating to maintain order! I’ll try to capitalize more on this in the future!
And normally our zipper display area has zippers in it & that’s all, but because we’ve cut back so much on the variety of separating zippers we offer, we now have room to “bonus” area in which to display other items. This worked out GREAT!
The MQF is really a rather small show consisting primarily of vendors selling quilting supplies… ie: fabric, backing, batting, rulers, & other things folks use to create quilts. Out booth was one of the few exceptions to this lineup and that may have given us a decided advantage. In addition, the expenses involved with this show was WAY less than other shows we normally vend at. The show fees & hotel costs were amazingly low and this really improved our profit margin & this was quite fortuitous for us. Our bottom line was in dire need of a good show!

Another thing I thought was a great idea about this show was that the customer lounge area was in the center of the show floor which had the effect of keeping the customers closeby where they could “show & tell” their friends what they had bought & discovered. There was also a really fun musician in front of our booth playing a Mountain Dulcimer throughout the show. I’ve seen others play this instrument, but I particularly enjoyed the fact that this guy added selections from the likes of artists like Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd & Gun n’ Roses to his repetoire!
The Quilt entries were quite modest as you might expect, so I won’t be doing a separate post about them but I really did love this particular entry by Margaret Solomon Gunn. It’s called “Taking the Unmapped Road“.
And before we knew it, the show was over & it was time to pack up & head back across those beautiful mountains to go home! We left very pleased with the show & very grateful for the “shot in the arm” it gave us after such the long, dry spell that the past year has been!
Will we return to Pigeon Forge & the MQF next year? Well… it seems unlikely since the show format is changing considerably next year. For starters it’ll be a three day show, in the middle of the week, in June. That seems like three strikes to me right now, but… only time will tell, right?

And now, it’s YOUR turn!

I hear tell that the attendance was down considerably for this show this year… if you’ve attended this show in the past, (probably due to residual fears about Covid) do you think this is true? Which makes me wonder… in what way will the pandemic situation need to change before you’ll be ready to attend a quilt show?
And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

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  1. Beth on May 21, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    Your booth looked very nice! If the show was in my area, I’d probably go providing there were no recent covid outbreaks at the time. I’d just wear a mask if I felt uneasy. I love mountain dulcimers and wish I could play one. I’m glad you had a good time! I enjoyed your post about it.

    • Kat on May 21, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks Beth! It was just the shot of fun that I needed! 🙂

  2. Lois M on May 22, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Agree with everything said in the above comment! Since you have so much to showcase and many small items, all very colorful, glad you went went with no posters on curtains! Considering the confusion around Covid issues, am glad you did well in a beautiful part of the country!

  3. Dee Winter on May 22, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    I live in Iowa, we are about 1/3 vaccinated here. Heritage Design in Amana was hosting a show last year which got cancelled, but it was a go this year. They seemed to have a good showing, the weather was atrocious, but it was so good to see something happening. The manager said her turnout was good, they had a few vendors, offered lunch, just a nice event. Not too big, but everyone was gracious and socially distanced, wore their mask. Her shop is close to the venue, so a shopping trip wasn’t a hardship. Yes, I bought things.

  4. Kathi on May 27, 2021 at 3:06 am

    I have been going to the show for more than 16 years now. This year did have a different feel. The original panel that put the show together is mostly gone now. It was nice to see new vendors and I loved your booth! The show is designed for a “hometown” feel and while I miss the bigger shows, this one is special to us. It was good to see new and old friends. It is like “homecoming” to us. Thank you for being a part of the show this year.

    • Kat on May 27, 2021 at 6:37 am

      We really enjoy going to new places and Pigeon Forge was FUN!

  5. Liz Schultz on May 27, 2021 at 4:29 am

    Kat, I was so happy to meet you. Your booth looked great as well as your hair. I am sad that you may not attend next year! My sisters and I had sew much fun and are looking forward to next June. please consider sowing if only for the three days, but if not know that you will be missed!

    • Kat on May 27, 2021 at 6:34 am

      We’re still considering our options, but the timing is poor for us (in June). I wish they had kept the show in March or May. 🙂

  6. Jonell on May 27, 2021 at 5:37 am

    I have been going to this show for many years but skipped this year out of an abundance of caution. I did go last year – it was my last trip prior to the covid shutdown and we had a great time. I usually go 3-4 hours/day for 2 or 3 days to see it all so have no idea how to gauge prior experiences against this year. We usually just go to shop and check out the quilts but don’t do the classes. We have done the area tours a few times from the quilt show, which are always lots of fun. The show used to always be in March, usually the week before Dollywood opened, so it was not as crowded in the area. I was surprised to see it was moving to May this year and now June next year. I didn’t know about the people in charge being changed so that may explain the changes. I was hoping it would move back to March but guess that won’t be the case. I’m glad your experience was a good one this year and hopefully next year will work out for you to return and I can see you there. Several shops in the area sell your patterns so it’s fun to look for them when I’m up there “exploring”.

    • Kat on May 27, 2021 at 6:32 am

      I was wondering if I might “catch” you there Jonell. It was a great show and we loved our time there. The jury is still out for next year for us, June is not a good month for a show and 3 days is not our preference, but who knows. 🙂

  7. Susan on May 27, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I have only missed 5 shows through the years. Since it has moved to the LeConte Center it is a lot easier to get around. I have been there when even the wide aisles seemed narrow. The quilt displays were many and some really good quilts and some that made me say I should have entered one of mine. Maybe one day I will. I have always loved this show. I did not get to go this year because of my health (not Covid). I am looking forward to next year. I would love to travel to some others but since I travel alone now I stick to ones within a few hours away.

    • Kat on May 27, 2021 at 6:30 am

      We really enjoyed our time there Susan, but I doubt that a three-day show in June is going to work for us. 🙁

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