Last fall, the American Quilter’s Society added Phoenix, AZ to their list of cities that would be hosting their quilt shows around the country. Charlotte, NC was also added to the list of Des Moines, IA, Lancaster, PA, Grand Rapids, MI, Chattanooga, TN and of course Paducah, KY. It was planned for February 5 – 8, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix. So I got to thinking, maybe I could fly out of the Rockford (RFD) airport to Mesa and go to the show. I had never been to Arizona before and the time of year was right for a break from our winter weather. And why not invite my quilting friends to come along!! I got on the phone with the RFD airport and Allegiant Airlines, who flies several days a week to Mesa from RFD. I asked about the possibility of adding a flight Feb. 5th since they were planning to start Wednesday service on Feb. 12th. Word went out by email and word of mouth to determine if there was enough interest to sell seats to quilters interested in attending the show. I received 75 responses and Allegiant agreed to add the Feb. 5th flight and start their Wed. service a week early. Tickets went on sale late in the fall.
On Feb. 5th, after a snowfall the night before, we boarded a plane bound for sunny AZ leaving our winter coats at home. The MD-80 was full and 23 of us were quilters. We landed in Mesa, took a shuttle to the light rail station in Phoenix that dropped us off a block from our hotels. The light rail system is what everyone uses to get around downtown. It drops you off near hotels, restaurants, museums and at the corner of the convention center. An all day pass costs $4. Everyone had different agendas while there and had made their own plans. Some visited family and friends on the days after the show, some toured museums, and some flew to other western cities before returning to Rockford.
Our guild was well represented at the show with entries from Karen Grover, Phyllis Campbell, Susan Halversen, and Karla Nitz. Phyllis’ Route 66 wall hanging, The Luna Cafe, was featured in the show program describing the special exhibit. She was so excited!!
The weather there was wonderful!!! Sunny, temps in the 70’s, flowers in bloom, grass and trees were green. I even saw a few cactus!! Be sure to ask those of us that went how much fun we had.
Because the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played next year in Phoenix the same weekend as the show, it will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2015. I have already been in contact with RFD, AQS and Allegiant Airlines to get together a travel package to return to Phoenix for the show in 2016. I definitely want to return to Phoenix and hope you will come with me in 2016.
~ Judy Mullen