HUGHESVILLE - To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs, the Lycoming County Pomona Grange has installed a Grange Heritage wooden quilt block at the Lycoming County Fair grounds.
With the installation of the block, the fairgrounds has been added as a stop on the grange's Heritage Quilt Trail, which encourages tourists to travel around the state and find all the quilt blocks.
The blocks are made out of wooden pre-primed sign board and painted with geometric patterns reminiscent of the state's strong quilting tradition. The local block was funded, painted and installed by the Pomona Grange.
The red, white and blue design was chosen by grange member and avid quilter Ruth Wallis. The design, a traditional star pattern, was chosen because of it's traditional and patriotic overtones.
"There's no limit on color or design and 40 different people are going to make 40 completely different quilt blocks," grange member Elizabeth Downey said.
Those who choose to follow the Heritage Quilt Trail can acquire the locations of all quilt blocks, follow then and explore the state. A map is available from the state grange.
Downey said the fair committee was extremely supportive of the decision to install a wooden quilt block on the fairgrounds.
"When we approached the fair board, they were very receptive. (Fair president) Jack Smith had already heard about the program from a conference he went to, and he was very enthusiastic," Downey said.
The program hopes to install quilt blocks in as many fair sites as possible. Over the last five years, the popularity of the wooden quilt blocks has spread.
"It started down in the Lancaster area, where there's a strong tradition of Amish and German quilters. But now it's really taken off and you see blocks on buildings all over the state," Downey said.
There also is no limit on the type of building that can host a block. Anything from homes, to barns, and even schools can display a wooden quilt block and be added to the trail.
"If a farmer or homeowner wanted to put a block up, they could contact the grange. They could make the block themselves and install it, or grange members can come out and help. We're trying to get everyone to put blocks up," Downey said.
"My husband and I are planning on making a couple to put on our own barn," she added.