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World Quilt New England: A Look Back on the Years

Manchester, New Hampshire: August 16 – 18, 2018

As we approach the 16th year of World Quilt New England (WQNE) this August, Mancuso Show Management is reflecting on the many years hosted at Manchester’s Center of New Hampshire. World Quilt New England, which was originally named World Quilt Show: On Tour, has morphed and changed drastically in the 16 years since first opening in the city of Manchester.

Before settling in Manchester in 2003, the international event began on the West Coast in Pasadena, California in 1997. Known then as the World Quilt Show: On Tour, the exhibit traveled across the country for the next five years. The international quilts were displayed in Lansing, MI, Winston-Salem, NC, Greensboro, NC, Grand Rapids, MI, and Columbus, OH, until finding its final home in New Hampshire.

In 2003, the festival’s name was officially changed to World Quilt New England and exclusively premiered at the Center of New Hampshire by 2006. To this day, WQNE has returned year after year to Manchester where it continues to be the perfect location for this spectacular event.

Throughout the years we have developed ideas and improved activities to remain a progressive influence in the show industry. For Mancuso Show Management 2010 was a pinnacle summer for the direction of World Quilt New England. It was at this festival that we redesigned our activities and overall look of the event to further engage and entertain attendees.

World Quilt Panel & Forum Ice Cream Social Pictured: A delicious sundae created by attendee & the instructor panelists for forum.
World Quilt Panel & Forum Ice Cream Social
Pictured: A delicious sundae created by an attendee & the instructor panelists for the forum.

That year, WQNE added an Ice Cream Social to the long-standing World Quilt Panel & Forum, making the experience not only educational but fun! The new Special Luncheon Presentation gave registrants the opportunity to interact with instructors in a more intimate setting than in the classroom. This activity continues to be a favorite among attendees, who learn more about the instructors while enjoying a delicious meal.

This was also the year World Quilt New England introduced the all-inclusive show & hotel package. By making this available, Mancuso Show Management transformed this event into not just a quilt festival, but a wonderful vacation getaway for many quilt enthusiasts. It’s the ultimate place to purchase fabric, patterns, sewing machines, batting, needles, thread etc., or to simply learn a new quilting skill or technique.

Best of Country 2017: South Africa “The Blooming Mosaic” by The Village Quilters Guild
Best of Country 2017: South Africa
“The Blooming Mosaic” by The Village Quilters Guild

To this day the most excitement originates from the acclaimed World Quilt Competition now in its 22nd year. With entries coming in from across the globe it is easy to get excited about this spectacular global event! Being the largest international quilt competition to date, it really is at the center of it all for quilt, wearable, and textile art.

The response from the public has been a positive one, with people traveling near and far to catch a glance of the World Quilt Competition. While a trip around the world would take months, WQNE brings quilts from across the globe to people’s doorstep. Making its initial appearance at the Manchester venue where the entries are juried and a “Best of World” winner selected, attendees are the first in the U.S. to view the new display of world quilts.

Over the years World Quilt New England has provided it attendees with hundreds of different exhibitors and showcased the largest display of international quilts in one facility. In the last 22 years, the World Quilt Competition has had 15 countries participate in the competition. These countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Best of Country 2017: Israel “In the Garden of Nuts” by Tamar Rimon Hemeli
Best of Country 2017: Israel
“In the Garden of Nuts” by Tamar Rimon Hemeli

What really ties this entire show together is the international quilt competition. The number of years the World Quilt Competition has been touring speaks volumes. It all comes back to the quilts and the creative inspiration each provokes. Behind every piece of art is a story. No matter where the quilt comes from or what culture it represents, people are able to look beyond the diverse artistry and appreciate the cohesive collection created by talented quilters.

Thanks to the sponsors over the years this competition receives international recognition and participation. Major sponsors Innova Longarm Systems / Old City Quilts, Pfaff Husqvarna Viking / Nashua Sew & Vac and silver sponsors Gammill and Handi Quilter / Bits ‘n Pieces have generously sponsored the 2018 World Quilt New England.

You don’t want to miss out on this year’s 16th annual celebration of World Quilt New England, at the Center of New Hampshire. It will be the best one yet!

For complete show details and to register online, visit: quiltfest.com.