The Sac County Quilt-A-Fair evolved from the barn quilt project. One of the barn quilt committee members proposed the idea as a way to bring more tourists to rural Iowa to see our barn quilts, as well as the beautiful cloth creations of Sac County area quilters. The first quilt show was held in 2007, with just over 1000 visitors. The show was so successful that the area quilters decided to hold the show on a biennial basis. Subsequent shows have been equally successful. A decade or more later, the Sac County Quilt-A-Fair has gained a stellar reputation as one of the finest quilt shows in the area.
The main attraction for each Sac County Quilt-A-Fair has been the quilts on display. With over 300 quilts entered and fully displayed during each show, the Quilt-A-Fair is a feast for the eyes. Quilts are displayed with antique furnishings and other home décor to accent their beauty. Hundreds of other quilts are displayed in vendor booths and as staging materials for other displays throughout the show grounds.
The Sac County Quilt-A-Fair has benefited from outstanding speakers and talented quilters during its brief history. Eleanor Burns, a prolific quilt designer and publisher, was a guest speaker for the second Quilt-A-Fair in 2009. Diana Beaubian, a regional pattern designer, shared a trunk show of her designs. Sandi McMillan, an award-winning quilter from Nebraska was featured at the Quilt-A-Fair, with a special display of her quilts, a trunk show and a lecture. Susan Cleveland, the 2010 Minnesota Quilter of the Year, was also a featured speaker for the Quilt-A-Fair. In 2013, Cynthia Thiessen Hickok, an internationally recognized fiber artist, was featured in her own home town. 2015 brought Darlene Zimmerman, "the feedsack lady" as guest lecturer and Ami Simms was the speaker in 2017.
Outstanding vendors have also been an integral part of the Sac County Quilt-A-Fair since its beginning. In addition to their decorative booths filled with patterns, fabrics, tools and other essentials for quilt enthusiasts, the vendors have provided interesting demonstrations on stage each year. These demonstrations have featured new techniques, new tools and other tips to help quilters improve their skills.
A sale area of "Bits and Pieces" offers visitors the chance to browse through gently used quilting books, patterns, fabrics and other quilting tools. To be family friendly, organizers of the Quilt-A-Fair have incorporated a classic car show and a tractor ride as part of the fair ground festivities. And of course, fair food is readily available for visitors as well.
The Sac County Quilt-A-Fair was organized by a large group of area quilters, who took responsibility for different parts of the show. The Sac County Quilters use any profit they receive from the quilt show to fund the subsequent show, to provide a maintenance fund for the county's barn quilts and to help bring prominent quilt teachers to rural Iowa.