At 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, the High Prairie Vintage Quilt Festival opened for business! Nearly 90 quilts were on display to be sold, raffled or silent-auctioned. Other attractions included live music, a food booth, a bake sale, and a vendor market. The event drew a steady stream of visitors, and by the end of the day the festival had taken in nearly $9,000, including a generous $2,500 donation made by Doug Taylor in appreciation of the hard-working, close-knit High Prairie community.
The idea for a quilt sale fundraiser to benefit HPCC and Fire District 14 started with Diane Cazalet, who donated her collection of over 70 vintage quilts for the sale. An enthusiastic circle of friends took up the planning, and HPCC agreed to sponsor the event. The ultimate success of the event was due to the combined efforts of many people, motivated not only by support for the community, but especially by their affection for and appreciation of Diane herself.
What a sight greeted the eye on entering the Community Center! It was filled with beautiful quilts of all colors, patterns, sizes, and histories. They were hanging on frames borrowed from the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, mounted on every spare space on the walls, pinned to the sound drapes and closet curtains, spread over the piano, folded on tables, and hung on display racks. Three quilts to be raffled were displayed just inside the entrance. It was all an amazing sight!
Bake sale tables were loaded with goodies, and positioned to catch the eye of customers as they came through the door. The food booth offered a simple menu of burgers and dogs, served at the pass-through window of the community center kitchen. For a treat there were root beer floats, dispensed outside at the front door so customers could carry them around the outdoor musical stage to the eating area – no sticky floats allowed in among the quilts!!!!
The musical stage was a flatbed trailer pulled up alongside the southwest corner of the building. Tents going back alongside the building covered the stage, a seating area for the audience, and the tables set up for eating. The music could be heard throughout the Quilt Festival grounds and it infused the day with a feeling of fun and enthusiasm. Four sets of musicians performed. The music was good and the acts were quite varied – Vocal Standards, Americana, Acoustic Rock, and Bluegrass.
Individual sellers brought goods to the vendor market, which was spread under the big tent at the west end, two more tents set up along the gravel driveway, and a few structures installed by vendors themselves. Their wares included rummage sale items, jewelry, hanging plants, saddles, make up, clothing, crafted items, planters full of succulents, and more. A percentage of their take went to the Quilt Festival.
The weather was pretty decent – warm but not too hot, and only a breeze for most of the day. The threatened thunderstorm held off until late in the day; but when it did come, it blew in some nasty gusts and then rained like the dickens for a while. One vendor’s tent tried to become a kite, but everyone jumped to and held it down before too much damage had been done. Later, the rain got bad and the musicians had to move inside among the quilts, but listeners enthusiastically reported that the more intimate setting made it even better.
By the end of the day there were lots of gaps in the quilt displays, as buyers had taken many of the beauties home with them. The silent auction closed, and calls went out to winners. Three lucky winners received prize quilts from the raffles. As everything wound down, a sense of lively satisfaction pervaded the scene. Organizers and workers relaxed over a potluck dinner, then went home tired but happy.
Cleanup was postponed until the following Monday, when it went “like clockwork,” as one of the organizers noted. In little more than 3 hours there was no sign that Saturday’s event had happened, except for the crew sharing one more work lunch together before everyone went back to their separate lives.