What A Day!


The Lancaster Quilt Show is on at present. Five of us decided to go today. At the last minute, two had to cancel. The other three, undaunted, sallied forth. 

Do you remember when the show used to be at the Host? Where there were two or three galleries of quilts inside the main building and then one would walk through the building and emerge halfway to the "tennis courts"? With a little place to grab a lunch partway inside and some benches and chairs for the consumption of same? And then a nice easy amble down to the tennis courts where the rest of the quilts would be in one part and the vendors in another part of the space? And inside the main building there was a nice restaurant where you could get a table with friends and a nice waitress would deliver the food you'd ordered?

Yeah. So do I. I remember it well.

What a different experience it was this year. First, the parking was unmanaged; that is, there was no one outside to direct the cars where to find a spot. Eventually we found one, and when we got to the front of the "newly remodeled" Host, a man with a thick accent was pretty much guarding the door to keep the quilt show attendees from entering. He just kept pointing to the left and waving us in that general direction. The advertised "shuttle" was an open-sided golf cart that held 5, maybe 6 people in addition to the driver. There was a good-sized crowd waiting for the "shuttle," and we opted to walk. It was a gray, windy, chilly day and fortunately there was no rain. The walk down to the "barn" was long and there was a choice between descending a steep hill or taking a bazillion steps. I don't know which would have been harder on those of us with compromised knees, not to mention our friends in wheelchairs or with walkers.

Just inside the front door was the welcome table where you could sign up to stay on the mailing list and a big sign imploring you to donate $1 to keep the show free. I pulled a dollar from my wallet and then took a quick glance around and decided to hold my dollar to donate on the way out. Possibly.

Our first stop, of course, was to the bathroom. It was located, of course, at the farthest corner from the entrance and we got our first hint of the degree of crowd as we made our way there. It was a nice, big bathroom with many stalls, handbag hooks on the doors, automatic flushers and nice warm water in the sinks. And no lines! What a good bathroom experience!

When we emerged, it was 11:08. We agreed to go our separate ways and meet once again at the bathroom at 12:30 to talk about lunch. It looked as though there was some kind of a fast food window where you could grab something and then carry it upstairs to a kind of loft to consume it.

I lasted about fifteen minutes. The quilts seemed to be on one side of each narrow aisle with vendors on the other side. There were at least a bazillion people present, including several bored and bulky husbands who just kind of planted themselves in the center of the aisle. People were trying to take pictures of quilts on the left while others gathered on the right to watch a vendor's demonstration, further blocking passage. A semi-skilled pickpocket could have had a heyday. There were the ubiquitous clueless aisle-blockers who kind of stood around. Once inside a vendor's stall, movement was restricted, to say the least. There were a couple of benches just inside the front door, no other seating area that I noted. But I wasn't there all that long and, truthfully, did not get a complete picture or experience. 

It crossed my mind, "What if there's a fire? What if somebody falls?" I didn't exactly panic but was uncomfortably close to it; I lasted about fifteen minutes and then took the shuttle back up to the main building, by-passed the scowling doorman to go inside where I settled myself on a comfortable bench away from the draft and texted my buddies as to my whereabouts. They didn't last a whole lot longer than I had. We made our way back to the car and off to the nearby Red Robin where we had a spectacular lunch and solved at least four world problems.

Oh, and I gave that dollar from my pocket to the shuttle driver.

*No photo today. I don't want to get sued.


Janet O. said…
Sounds like a terribly disappointing experience. Who plans these "improvements"?
Is there anywhere you can give feedback on your perspective of their improvements?
Mrs. Goodneedle said…
What a crying shame. I’m sorry that your experience was such a huge disappointment.
Quiltdivajulie said…
How awful - good decision on that dollar, too.
OTquilter said…
Ugh. I’m glad I decided not to make the trip! Thank goodness AQS is coming back to Near Lancaster in September 2024.
Anya said…
I remember the "old" show at the Host, which was wonderful. There was also another show at the hotel across the street, which called itself the Cherry Blossom Quilt Festival, or something like that, held at the same time. It was mostly vendors with a few quilts scattered about. After the big show at the Host closed down, I noticed that the Cherry Blossom show changed its name to the Lancaster Quilt Show and still held it at the hotel across the street from the Host. To me, that was deceptive, because I think they were trying to fool people into thinking it was "THE" Lancaster show. I wonder if Mancuso will still have a show in Philadelphia in September 2024 if AQS is having one in Lancaster the same month.
Anya said…
One more thing...I just checked their website and they also have a "Paducah Quilt Show", held during the AQS show.
Barbara Anne said…
What a disappointing experience and I hope that misguided bunch doesn't get to do any shows anywhere in the future. In my experience, which includes Paducah (1999), the Houston show 11 years from 1992 to 2002, a couple of times to the Dallas show, and the Waco shows when we lived there (a lovely but HOT town with 2 seasons [pre Magnolia anything]), it's never good to have quilts and vendors opposite each other unless the aisle between them is really wide.
You and your friends were wise to head to Red Robin - YUM!

Anonymous said…
How disappointing. It's a shame they didn't plan any better than what they did. I hope that you get to go to a nice show soon. Thanks for sharing.
Nann said…
I suggest that you write to the show producers to let them know. It sounds as though you rescued some of the day ("Other than that, how were the quilts, Mrs. Lincoln?") and you did not succumb to impulse purchases at the vendors.
Anonymous said…
My niece’s friends went two days and had nothing negative to say about the show. They live in Lancaster and are avid and prolific quilters. I am sorry you did not experience what you anticipated. As the above person mentioned, perhaps sharing your disappointment with the producers and expressing improvements might be good for everyone. Your diamonds are getting there. Good work.

Dotti in CT