This year according to Biz Trade Shows web site there were 549 vendors and over 60,000 visitors. It's 4 days of classes, vendors, quilt competition and special displays and held in the George R Brown Convention Center which is big - it's really big - seriously big. The basic set up is 3 areas on main floor. The right side is more quilts than you can imagine. The rows are very deep and set up A thru Z. Then the middle section is the vendors. Same really deep rows and set up 100 thru 2000. That's 20 super deep rows of vendors of all kinds. After that on the left is the food court. When we finally made it all the way to the food court I almost cried because it was so big and the food vendors were on the far side - we had more walking to do! All around the far side and up the 2 sides were tons of vendors with high quality foods - taco salads, baked potato bar Philly cheese steak, BBQ, sandwiches, fudge, jerky, a cupcake truck and so much more.
The vendor area is bigger and longer than you can see. We didn't make it through the whole area but did hit most of them. My friend bought some shoes with special airsoles but they didn't quite fit my feet (drat!). We both got some moisturizer that I have never seen before but is the absolute best stuff I've ever seen. Lo lo body bars are an all natural product shaped like a bar of soap but seriously good moisturizer. I have terrible dry skin on my front calf from the car heat and after 1 application and 2 days it was still nice soft skin.
OK, commercial over. I also picked up a sample pack from Hobbs. They are 18x18 pieces of every batting they make bundled together for $5. I grabbed one the first night which was a good thing cause they were out when we went past the booth on Saturday. I plan to make sandwiches from the same fabric, maybe different colors, and try quilting to see what batting makes me happiest.
I also got a few other things but the main reason for this trip was to see the quilts. Quilt sightings started at the beginning of the trip before we even got to Houston. Our first was was just south of Des Moines, Iowa in Madison County. The same as the "Bridges of Madison County" fame. We turned off for a quick gas stop and spotted a barn quilt about 1/2 mile from one of the bridges.
So - we got to Houston after driving about 18 hours and arrived on the north end in time for breakfast, Since our hotel room wouldn't be ready till 3pm we headed straight to the convention center and spent 4 hours walking around. I took a bunch of pictures but we'll save those for a moment. It ended up being about 30 hours without sleep and I got a bit loopy before we finally called it a night.
Friday we headed to NASA (Johnson Space Center) and Galveston. I haven't been to either for over 25 years and my friend has never been south of Iowa so this was a great adventure. We saw all sorts of space stuff and got in on a talk by Dr LeRoy Chiao, astronaut and incredible speaker.
After many hours of space stuff and a few t-shirts and other gifts finding their way to the car, we headed to Galveston. Little did we know it was a motorcycle gathering weekend. OH MY WORD! I have never seen so many motorcycle and so much black leather in my life. According to the newspaper there were over 500,000 motorcyclists over the weekend. My friend wiggled her toes in the Gulf, we drove around checking out the damage still around from the last hurricane and we decided it would be better to head back to the main land for dinner.
As I said we spent Thursday afternoon and all day Saturday at the Quilt Festival. Here's a couple non-quilt items and I'll start showing you some quilts next post.
I still have several hundred pictures to sort thru but hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow and post some quilt pictures.