The residents of Northampton have been holding their very own community street festival since 1997. Every year, on the second Saturday in October since then, the town has come to life with colour and creativity. Be part of marking history on Saturday 8th October when they celebrate their 20th year of the Northampton Airing of the Quilts.
“We celebrate a tradition which was considered a usual household chore of hanging the bed quilts outside to air after the winter months. Long before sewing machines were invented, these quilts were sewn by hand and they are proudly displayed by their owners. This tradition is celebrated in many areas throughout the country and overseas.” says Committee Chair Kaye Simkin. “Quilts and quilters come from far and wide each year, we have a number of regular interstate and international visitors at the festival.”
The main street in Northampton happens to be part of the North West Coastal Highway and is lined from one end to the other with colourful quilts, arts and crafts.The town has seen more than 840 quilts aired in just one day. On top of all the quilts, the town comes to life with live entertainment, May Pole demonstrations, more than 50 different market stalls consisting of local and visiting artisans, a street parade and a fashion parade, interactive animal displays, a huge variety of food and activities including miniature train rides, pony rides, balloon animals, free face painting, balloons and bouncy castles for the little ones.
“In 2014 we created and displayed the southern hemisphere's LARGEST quilt! We were aiming for the world's largest but someone just beat us. We had to hoist it up over the back of a few semi-trailers” says Mrs Simkin.
“This year some of our talented young Northampton artists have been working hard under the guidance of their terrific teacher Jenny, from "Kurrajong Farm Art". At Jenny's after-school art classes they have been busy creating canvas panels that will be mounted together to form a BIG "QUILT". Keep a lookout for this unusual and fun display at the 2016 Airing of the Quilts - it will be displayed near the CRT shop in the centre of town.” says Pat Mitchell Reynolds, proud supporter of the community festival.
There is even a chance to win prize money as part of the festival! The float parade is open to all and any entrants, free of charge - all with an equal chance of taking home the cash prize. Plus the annual raffles and the Northampton Art Prize will be voted on and presented on the day.
The Northampton Airing of the Quilts is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2016, and until this year has been completely run by a volunteer committee of residents, many of whom are also active members of the Lions Club, the Friends of the Railway and more. Plus a lot of them - nor their wives - make most of the (hundreds) of quilts which are hung out to air during the festival.
It is pretty much a street festival which takes over the entire town. A huge day for the region and the local community. The event runs from 9.30am til mid-afternoon, and entry is free. Follow what’s happening at www.facebook.com/NorthamptonAiringOfTheQuilts
Anyone interested in displaying a quilt, having a stall, performing, entering the parade or being part of the day in any way should contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0407 394 569.