The brainstorming began after five quilters; Sheila MacDonald, Karen Feero, Phyllis Johnson, Teri Rennie and Davie Stephens from Valdez, attended the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Weekly meetings began in September 2003 and also included Trudy Koszarek, owner of the local quilt shop, Calico Whale and fellow quilter Vicky Wood. The group then began in organizing, confirming dates and searching for instructors.
The first Valdez Quilt Festival was held in September 2004. Our instructors for this first year were: John Flynn, Sandy Bonsib and Susan Drury from out of state and in state teachers, Lil Dillan, Loretta Tibor, Brenda Henning, Trudy Koszarek, Carolyn Jochens and Robin Underwood. It was a overwhelming success !! The group realized that having the festival yearly would be a lot of work and so it was decided to make it a biennial event.
In September 2006, the 2nd Biennial Valdez Quilt Festival included out of state instructors: Billie Lauder, Judy Niemeyer, Amy Bradley. With Alaskan instructors, Pam Ventgen and Carol Wight Jones.
Since that time Valdez Quilts, Inc., a non-profit organization was created and our mission is to pull off without a hitch this biennial event.
The 3rd Biennial Quilt Festival held in September of 2008 brought out of state instructors: Judy Niemeyer and Jackie Robinson with Alaskan instructors Trudy Koszarek, Diana Bradley, Ann Courtney, Corlis Taylor, Marguerita McManus and Sarah Raffuse, Mary Kay Samboa and Rosanna Brandan.
In 2010, our 4th Biennial Event featured Ami Simms, Marsha McClosky and Becky Goldsmith and Alaskan quilters, Lisa Moore, Brenda Clyde, Brenda Henning, Sheilah Crum and Rhonda Sambo.
As word spreads the festival participants increases. In 2010 we created a facebook page and in 2012 we created our own website, so that our information can reach as many quilters as possible. Our committee has grown as well, we have lost a few of the originals and have added some very enthusiastic quilters to the committee.
Each year we contact many National instructors and are happy when they say 'yes' and we think it's because of our beautiful location. Instructors begin their time in Valdez with a Prince William Sound Stan Stephens cruise. They all seem to love it and the chance for them to get to know the other teachers.
Our 5th Biennial Festival 2012 is bringing Debbie Caffrey and Peggy Barkle as our featured instructors along with Alaskan instuctors: Maria Shell, Ellen Daley, Barbara Bailey, Mardene Collins, Susan Wilson, Lasetta Montgomery, Martha Peterson and Sheila MacDonald.
2014's 6th Biennial Festival is now a wonderful memory. Our fantastic teachers were: Colleen Granger, Linda Ballard, Tracey Brookshier, Marguerita McManus, Brenda Clyde, Jeanne Acton & Debby Carter.
We continue to work hard in creating an event that will keep getting bigger and better !!