Quilt Festival floorAfter Quilt Market ends, the Houston International Quilt Festival begins. Unlike Market, which is a trade show for business owners, Festival is open to the public. And does it ever attract a crowd. Over 50,000 people attend during the four day show. I haven’t heard the attendance figures for this year, but last year was the Fortieth Anniversary Celebration and there were over 60,000 attendees. The first time I attended was in 1993 and I was totally overwhelmed because it is definitely sensory overload. But what a Mecca for quilters. I haven’t missed a single show since I first started attending. The fun thing about Festival is that it’s not a working show like Market, so my friends and I can shop at our leisure and look at the amazing display of quilts. And we have time to stop and visit with friends in the quilting world that we don’t often get to see. It’s also a place to see the “rock stars” of the quilting world like Jamie Wallen, Ricky Timms, Alex Anderson and Jenny Doan to name a few. I always come home inspired and anxious to get back to making quilts. And I start looking forward to next year. For a quilter, it’s definitely a highlight of the year.