Jeannette Kitlan is hoping for some good weather in Tunkhannock on Saturday, when the 12th annual “Airing of the Quilts” drapes the borough’s main street in a patchwork of colors.
Downtown businesses and private homes will display handmade quilts all along Tioga Street. Along with the outdoor displays, indoor quilt exhibits, a lecture and an art show are planned.
Kitlan started the annual display in 2002 as a way to encourage commerce in Tunkhannock, where she operates her Endless Mountains Quiltworks.
“I had just opened my business the fall before, and I joined the Tunkhannock Business Association,” Kitlan recalled. “I proposed the idea.”
Business owners agreed to put quilts in their storefronts, and homeowners along the main street agreed to have quilts hung on the porches and in their yards.
“It was very successful, and people came,” Kitlan said. “We expect close to 3,000 people to come through town this weekend, rain or shine.”
She said it has rained just two times for the event. While rain won’t stop the event, not as many quilts would be hung.
“There are a lot of Victorian homes (in Tunkhannock),” said Marian Stroka, director of the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts Gallery, which is showing Sabine Thomas’s watercolors of quilts displayed in past years. “Quilts, hundreds of them, are displayed from porches, fences, bushes, wherever you can put them.”
She said a trolley to take people to all the venues will run a continuous loop throughout the day.
The official indoor venue for the “Airing” is in the Tunkhannock Area Middle School, 200 Franklin Ave. There, Kitlan is sponsoring the Pennsylvania Invitational Quilt Show, showcasing 107 quilts made by Pennsylvania quilt makers. There is a $5 admission for that show, with lunch sold by the Boy Scouts and door prizes, including a drawing for a $600 sewing machine.
Most of the quilts are just for exhibit, but viewers can pick their favorites.
The second indoor venue will be in the Wyoming County Courthouse at 1 Courthouse Square, where there will be a free exhibit of about 30 quilts by Carol Smith of Plains Township. Outside on the greens around the courthouse, local churches will sell hots dogs and cider and provide Christian music, Kitlan said.
A third venue is set for the Father Nallin Parish Center, 99 E. Tioga St., the community center for the BVM Nativity Church. Pat and Arlan Christ from Berks County put together a collection of heirloom quilts that will make up a free exhibit of about 35 quilts. The church will serve lunch as well. The Christs also will lecture at 11 a.m. at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., on “19th Century Appliqued Quilts.” Admission to the lecture is $5, and quilts also will be on display at the theater.
The Endless Mountains Council of the Arts Gallery will exhibit the Thomas watercolors, which depict quilts hung in the “Airing of the Quilts.”
Stroka said 25 to 30 of the Hanover Township artist’s paintings will hang throughout October, and all will be for sale. The gallery, at 302 W. Tioga St., is open 1 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, but tomorrow Thomas will be at the gallery from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stroka said Thomas based the paintings on photographs she took of the homes displaying the quilts.