By Sue Moore
Suzi Parron, a national author and quilter, will kick off the monthly programs for the Vicksburg Historical Society on Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Vicksburg District Library. She will do a book signing following her lively slide presentation of barn quilt trails across the country.
Parron’s program features over 100 stunning photos starting with the very first barn quilt that was painted in Ohio in 2001. Her newest book, Following the Barn Quilt Trail, has a section devoted to the Vicksburg Quilt Trail. “Anyone who enjoys quilts will love Parron’s stories,” says Kitch Rinehart, Vicksburg’s quilt trail guru. “We are honored to be in the national spotlight. Then add in the topic of old and new barns along with beautiful photos of rural America and you have a program that is sure to please.”
The Vicksburg Quilt Trail has brought a lot of visitors to the community, in part because the barns are beautiful and the quilts appeal to a large group of quilters. This has all happened through the efforts of Kitch and Hugh Rinehart, who have made the trail come to life, according to Ted Vliek, the Historical Society’s president. The Society is the fiscal agent for the Rineharts’ efforts. They received an initial grant from the Vicksburg Foundation.
When the Rineharts started selecting barn owners within the Vicksburg school district, they offered to paint whatever quilt pattern the family decided upon. Hugh did the carpentry work and Kitch did the painting. Then she put together a brochure featuring the barn quilts and a reference to why the owner chose a particular design. The brochure has a map of the entire trail so visitors can take a leisurely drive through the countryside, plus stop in the Vicksburg shops and restaurants.
In addition, a barn quilt painting workshop will be held on Saturday, May 21 from 12:30 to 4:30 at the Vicksburg District Library. People taking the class can create their own barn quilt with instructors who will guide participants through the painting of a 2 x 2 foot quilt block. It will be suitable for displaying out of doors on a home, a garage or shed, Rinehart says. The class is limited to 20 students. The fee is $40 and a place in the class can be reserved by calling the Rineharts at 269-329-0481.
Kitch declares the Vicksburg Trail complete. She has joined a statewide network of barn quilt trails and promoted the local trail through this connection.