In celebration of the Alaska State Fair’s 80th birthday, we are raffling off a commemorative Fair quilt, with all proceeds benefiting the Fair scholarship fund! Even if you don’t win the quilt grand prize, you still have a chance to win a $100 or a $50 souvenir gift certificate as second or third prize.
We’re only selling 2,500 tickets and they are available for purchase now – $10 for one or three for $25. We’ll draw the lucky winners on the last day of the 2016 Fair.
The quilt features the 2016 Fair poster artwork designed by fourth-generation Alaskan and artist Ruth Hulbert, who also created the 2007, 2009 and 2015 Fair posters. The artwork, unofficially titled “The Work of Many Hands,” features eight squares representing significant moments in each decade of the Fair, plus one square depicting the Fair as an ongoing work in progress.
The Fair’s 2016 theme, Bee Happy, sparked Ruth’s idea of a quilt as a way to organize a lot of historical tidbits into a coherent design. “I’ve never done any quilting, and can barely sew, but from shelving quilt books at Fireside (Books) I knew there’s a rich tradition of quilt block patterns with names and meanings, and it seemed like a fun idea to organize a painting as though it were a quilt,” she said.
Ruth carefully researched the Fair’s history as part of this project, and her notes on each square are available on the Fair website. “My own family history overlaps a lot of local history, so along with reading Talis Colberg’s thesis ‘M.D. Snodgrass: The Founder of the Alaska State Fair,’ I asked my grandma and great-uncle (Colony kids) for their memories of the early fairs,” she said.
“Several details in the poster, like Kennedy’s car getting stuck in the mud in 1960, and the show-stopping moonrise in the early 1980s, came from stories my parents have told me. The last three squares are full of my own memories, first as a kid going to the Fair and later as a teenager and adult working there.”
Local quilter Kathy Rockey created the beautiful, queen-sized quilt, made from squares printed with Ruth’s artwork. Kathy and her family have called Palmer home since 1991, but the Tennessee native has been sewing for much longer than that.
“I have been sewing since I was a child, taught by my mother … I made most of my own clothing including my wedding and several bridesmaids’ dresses with her help … My sewing eventually expanded to also include machine embroidery and then quilting,” Kathy said.
President of the Alaska Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, Kathy has been a judge and helped with demonstrations in the sewing department of the Alaska State Fair for many years.
“I have been blessed to share my love of sewing and quilting with others, and really enjoy making things for local causes,” said Kathy, who quilts on a machine named Alice, “after my mother, who taught me to love sewing and quilting.”
You can see the commemorative Fair quilt on display at the daily quilt show in Irwin Exhibits during the Fair. Get your raffle tickets – $10 for one or three for $25 – at the Main Office prior to the Fair, or at the Plaza and Irwin souvenir booths during the Fair. The winners will be drawn on Monday, September 5 at 3:15 p.m. at the Colony Stage, and do not need to be present to win.
In addition to the commemorative quilt, Ruth’s “Work of Many Hands” artwork will be featured on several souvenir items, including the 2016 Fair poster, a metal pin, and squares that fairgoers can use to create their own quilts. These items will be available for purchase at the Plaza and Irwin souvenir booths during the Fair.