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Welcome to the Road to California Blog

Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

February 19th, 2020

Cherrywood Fabrics and Bob Ross

For the 5th year in a row, Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics presented their annual fabric challenge at Road to California. For 2020, the theme was Bob Ross, the iconic American painter, art instructor, and television host.

Mr. Ross was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States. It was also aired in Canada, Latin America, and Europe. His belief that everyone has “a creative need inside of us,” was the perfect inspiration for such a fabric challenge.

Cherrywood Challenges

Cherrywood Fabrics began their fabric challenges in 2014 with their Wicked Challenge– based on the hugely successful Broadway play. Other challenge themes have included The Lion King, van Gogh, the musician, Prince, and 2019’s Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge.

All Cherrywood Challenges incorporate hues of Cherrywood’s 100% cotton dyed fabrics that look like suede.  Up until the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge, fabric artists utilized four coordinating fabrics. The Bob Ross challenge doubled the fabric choices to eight.

Bob Ross Cherrywood Chalenge

Two hundred quilts were chosen for the entire Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge collection. The collection was divided into “trunks,” organized by when they arrived at Cherrywood’s offices to compete in the challenge. Certain trunks are chosen to travel to various destinations throughout 2019-2020. At Road to California’s 25th Anniversary Show, all 200 quilts were on display.

Meet the Makers of the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge

On Saturday afternoon of Road 2020, a few of the makers of the quilts in the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge, were on hand to answer questions about their experience and to autograph the official, Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge Book.

Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge

When raising her family, Cindy Thompson would relax by watching Bob Ross’ television program. “His technique was so fun. It blew me away,” she recalled. Like Bob Ross, Cindy is an artist and was really interested in doing the challenge. A veteran of two other Cherrywood Challenges (van Gogh and Prince), the hard part for Cindy with this challenge was the colors of the fabric; they weren’t exactly her favorite. She knew she wanted a couple of features to stand out in her quilt: a TV and Bob’s hair. With those decisions made, her quilt came together.

Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge

The Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge included the first mother/daughter winners, Sara and Clarice. The challenge was the first contest Sara had ever entered and Road to California was only the second quilt show she has ever attended. Sara is also an artist and she felt a responsibility to be credible with this project since Bob Ross “is an inspiration to all painters.” Sara chose to do a “self-portrait” and to keep it simple. Sara said it was a “fun” experience that pulled her in to the quilting world.

Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge

Sara’s entry was her first ever art quilt—and it was her mother’s first art quilt as well. Clarice is a quilter and loved doing this challenge with her daughter. Clarice commented how Bob Ross’ landscapes spoke to her on how anyone can “move mountains” and as Bob said, “You can do anything in your life.”

Maryland resident, Kathy Freeman, chose to use traditional quilt techniques in her entry because to her, Bob Ross’ paintings reminded her of folk-art quilts. Kathy’s quilt was entirely pieced; several hundred pieces in all. At Road, Kathy wore a knitted shawl she made in all seven colors of the challenge’s fabric palette. She purchased her yarn from independent knit dyers to match the exhibit.

Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge

Cherrywood’s 2020 Challenge

The Cherrywood Challenge for 2020 is Diana

The goal of this challenge is to take inspiration from Diana, Princess of Wales, in creating a unique quilt measuring 20” square, using the limited color palette of pink and white. Entries are due by July 1, 2020. Additional information for this challenge is on Cherrywood’s website.

Congratulations to all those whose quilts were exhibited at Road to California 2020. To see if the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge will be on display near you, check out the exhibit’s schedule.            

Jen Kingwell at Road 2020

February 14th, 2020

Do you know Jen Kingwell?

An Australian, Jen Kingwell describes herself as “a traditional quilter with a modern twist.” In her perfect world she would hand stitch everything but with today’s busy lifestyle, she does machine piecing as well. Hand appliqué and quilting are among her favorite pastimes.

Jen Kingwell at Road 2020

Jen “stumbled” into quilting 30 years ago. She is a teacher, author, and designer for Moda Fabrics.  Jen has owned quilt stores for over 15 years and currently owns amitie Textiles in Melbourne Australia.

Jen Kingwell at Road 2020

Jen taught 7 handwork classes at Road to California 2020.   

Jen Kingwell at Road 2020

She found Road 2020 to be a “fantastic show” that was “well organized.” Jen added that she had a “really nice experience” teaching every day of the show where she met “the loveliest ladies” who were enthusiastic and willing to try whatever she gave them to do.

We stopped in during Jen’s Creative Hand Quilting and Finishing class and talked to some of her students:

Debra was from Discovery Bay, California. She said she got lots of good information from Jen and that the class was fun, casual and relaxing.

A Road to California attendee since the show was in Anaheim, Elaine has been quilting for over 26 years. Even though she lives local (in Orange County), she likes to stay overnight in one of Road’s host hotels so she can walk over to the show. At Road 2020, Elaine took  2 classes. “I haven’t done any sewing since last January at Road 2019 so I’m excited to pick it up again. I like handwork; repetition is relaxing. Jen is excellent.”

Jen Kingwell at Road 2020

Kim and Brenda are sisters-in-law from San Diego, California. They have been attending Road to California together since 2011. Brenda started quilting 15 years ago. She sold Kim her old machine and taught her how to quilt 13 years ago. Brenda said, “Now Kim is teaching me!!” They belong to Sew Easy Girls where they sit and sew every Thursday.

A Sewing Tip From Jen

One tip that Brenda learned from Jen was how to use thread from the right end of the spool. Thread your needle first, then cut the thread from the spool. Doing it this way, the thread and the knot will go with the nap of the thread.

It was great having Jen Kingwell at Road 2020, reminding her students how handwork is relaxing—and fun!!!     

Road 2020 Best of Show

February 10th, 2020

Congratulations to Marilyn Badger for winning Road 2020 Best of Show for Christmas in St. Andrews. Marilyn received $10,000 from Road to California’s Platinum Sponsor, Gammill Quilting Systems.

Road 2020 Best of Show

Lucky to Win

The winner for the Road 2020 Best of Show, Marilyn Badger, is no stranger to winning awards and being a featured artist at Road to California. Keeping that in mind, Marilyn commented that winning this coveted Beat of Show award at the 25th Anniversary Show was special as “I know how difficult Best of Show awards are to come by – the competition is incredible today! I also know how lucky I am when I win, whatever the award.”

Photo by Bonnie McCaffrey Photography

Getting Started in Quilting

Marilyn’s journey in quilting began in the mid-70s while she and her husband were living on their boat in Marina del Rey, California. It was all hand piecing back then because of the lack of room for a sewing machine. When they moved ashore in 1986, Marilyn became interested in machine quilting and purchased her first longarm machine in 1991.

Inspiration for Christmas at St. Andrews

Claudia Clark Myers came up with the design and challenged Marilyn to use the plaid fabric in the background. After all the piecing, appliqué and quilting, Marilyn really “had fun” adding the hand details and trims.

Road 2020 Best of Show

It took Marilyn about 9 months to complete Christmas in St. Andrews. She said that she tends to be somewhat obsessive about getting a quilt finished before starting another one. Quite a few were waiting in line when she was working on this one. By the time it was finished, she was more than ready to move on to the next one. Marilyn said she really learned a lot about matching plaid seams on this one. She eventually used 6 yards of fabric by the time she fussy cut everything.

Road 2020 Best of Show

Winning Road 2020 Best of Show

How did Marilyn hear the news that she had won? Another Road 2020 winner, Janet Stone, sent Marilyn a message late Wednesday night, January 22nd, that Marilyn had won Road 2020 Best of Show. Marilyn was “flabbergasted” that she had won. At first, she thought it must have been a mistake until she got a second message from another friend.

She’s not sure what she will do with the prize money but feels that she’s “sure I’ll think of something fun to do with it.”

What’s Next?

Marilyn just finished a new quilt in time to enter it in the AQS Daytona Beach show this month (February 2020) and is adding lots of hand embroidery to a new quilt which she hopes to have ready as an entry for Road 2021.

Giveaways and Quilts – A Winning Combination

February 6th, 2020

At Road to California, we love showcasing quilts and we love providing lots of opportunities for our guests to win prizes.

Part II- Daily Giveaways

Daily Giveaways have been a Road to California tradition for several years.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, sewing machines donated by several Road Sponsors were given away twice a day, at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, at the North Registration Desk.

And on Sunday afternoon, Martelli Enterprises donated a Martelli Premier Workstation with Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat to one lucky winner.

Thursday Winners

Adelina Portillo of Riverside, California, won a Brother Project Runway Limited Edition Sewing Machine from Moore’s Sewing Center. A quilter for 15 years, Adelina was “really happy” to win. “I’ve never won anything before,” she said. Adelina has been coming to Road to California for the past 12 years. She makes it a day of “buying stuff” and hanging out with friends.

Giveaways

The afternoon winner was Lisa Pechon of Fullerton, California. The microphone was cutting out when her name was announced. Just in case, she and her daughter showed up at the North Registration Desk to check it out and when she found out she was the winner, she was “shocked.” Lisa won a Baby Lock Jubilant Model BL 808 from Moore’s Sewing Center. A quilter for 5 years, Lisa says she is “still learning.” Her daughter, Hannah, was thrilled for her mom. She was looking forward to attending the show to find out about the Cosplay costumes.   

Giveaways

Friday Winners

“The original Barbie Doll,” Barbara Doll, from Calgary, Canada, was the morning winner. She won a Janome 2030 QDC portable sewing machine from Moore’s Sewing Center. Barbara spends her winters in Arizona and came to the show with 12 friends from the Sun City West-Palo Verde Patchers. Barbara said she is always on the lookout for a new machine. She loved how her new Janome was “nice and light.”

Giveaways

Mel’s Sewing and Fabric Center donated a Bernina 215 that won by Colleen Craviero from Rhode Island. She was in Row 100 in the Exhibit Hall, “just hanging out in Row 100,” when she heard her name called. Road 2020 was her first time at the Show. She had flown to Arizona to spend time with her sister-in-law and they drove over to the show. Colleen said that the closest quilt show to her home is in Vermont. She found Road to be “amazing.”

Giveaways

Saturday Winners

Robyn Phelps from La Mesa, California, won a Pfaff Passport 3.0 from Pollard’s Sew Creative. Robyn had just arrived at the show on a bus with the Legacy Quilters right before the drawing was held. Se was excited to win the machine because hers was “on its last leg.”  

Shelley Holbrook from Yorba Linda, California was in the Ballroom, looking at the quilt exhibits, when she heard her name on the loudspeaker. Shelley won a Husqvarna Viking Opal 650 from OC Sewing and Vacuum. She has been to Road five times in the past. Shelley likes to see the new products. “There are things you can only find here.” She also thought all the quilts were “beautiful.”

Sunday Winner

Teri Gallagher won the Martelli Premier Workstation with Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat. This was her 2nd visit to Road.   

We hope you’re planning on joining us for Road to California 2021, January 21-24, 2021. Don’t forget to sign up for the great giveaways when you come. Who knows…you could go home a winner too!!      

Quilts and Giveaways – A Winning Combination

February 4th, 2020

At Road to California, we love showcasing quilts and we love providing lots of opportunities for our guests to win prizes.

Part I – Roadie Bucks

Each morning during the 2020 Anniversary Show, Road sponsored a “Roadie Bucks” drawing at the South Information Desk. Roadie Bucks were an idea thought up by Road to California’s owner, Matt Reese. Each Roadie Buck was worth $100 and had the portrait of Matt printed on the front to authenticate the special currency. Lucky winners of a Roadie Buck could spend the $100 at any one vendor at the show.

To join in the fun, early arriving guests simply filled out an entry slip as they came into the Convention Center’s main hall and deposited it in the raffle drum. Then, promptly at 10:00 AM, the voice of Road, Randy Graves, announced two winners for that day.

Thursday Winners

Roadie Bucks

Sue Roberts is from Menifee, California. She has been coming to Road for the past 7 years. She was “shocked” to have won. She was planning on spending her Roadie Bucks on photo fabric, thread and a light box.

Roadie Bucks

Darlene Taylor lives in Moreno Valley, California and owns Darlene’s Fabric Shop. “This is the first time I have ever won anything!!” Darlene exclaimed. She hadn’t heard her name on the loudspeaker but three of her friends did and they called her right away. She was going to purchase thread, a big cutting mat and “lots more” with her Roadie Buck.

Friday Winners

Roadie Bucks

Vicki McIntire is a Road to California veteran. The Anniversary Show was her fourth time at Road.

Roadie Bucks

Congratulations to Ruth Lofgren, a 10-year attendee.

Saturday Winners

Kathy from Lebec, California came to Road 2020 hoping to meet Jenny Doan and Eleanor Burns. Instead, she won a Roadie Buck!! “I’m going to spend it on stuff,” said Kathy.

Roadie Bucks

The second winner on Saturday was 12-year-old, Jayden. It was her first-time visiting Road. She came with her Grandma and her Aunt. Jayden didn’t even know you could win a prize at Road.   “I just walked in and I won!! I said, ‘What??!!’” Since it was her first time at the show, she was going to look at “everything” before she carefully made her purchase.

Sunday Winners

Julia Calzado has been to every Road to California, so she was celebrating 25 years of Road too!!

The last Roadie Bucks winner of 2020 was Cindy Skolaski. It was her first time at Road to California and apparently, according to her T-shirt, Cindy was going to use her Roadie Buck to help her with her Obsessive Quilting Disorder!!

This was the second year for Roadie Bucks, and it has quickly become a new Road tradition. You can look forward to participating in this fun giveaway at Road 2021.

2020 Marie White Masterpiece Award

January 31st, 2020

Congratulations to Janet Stone for winning the Marie White Masterpiece Award for her quilt, Crazy for Ewe. Janet received $7,500 from Sponsor, Road to California.

Marie White Masterpiece

Janet Stone began her quilting adventure in the late 1990’s. She said she got serious about quilting in 2006 after she bought a “really nice new sewing machine.” Janet made her first “show quilt” in 2008 and has been hooked on making quilts for show ever since.

Making Crazy for Ewe

Crazy for Ewe was inspired by wool applique and crazy quilting, both of which Janet loves. She decided to combine the two but used flannel fabrics instead of wool because there are “so many pretty commercial flannels on the market these days.”

It took Janet 9 months to complete Crazy for Ewe, which was a little longer than her usual because of the extra quilting that she did. Janet quilted the blocks separately. Before she attached them to the background, she quilted from the back where the blocks were going to go, then appliqued the blocks on so it became a 2-sided quilt.

Marie White Masterpiece
Photo from The Quilt Show Daily Blog

Janet has a style that is easily recognizable. Her quilts are known to feature letters of the alphabet and sheep. When asked about her trademark symbols, Janet replied, “(the sheep) are not trademarked, they are just the way I design sheep. I use them in a lot of my quilts because I love sheep.”

What is the Marie White Masterpiece Award?

The Marie White Masterpiece Award is the second highest cash award given at Road to California’s Quilt Contest. It is named for Marie White, who was the mother of Road to California’s former owner, Carolyn Reese. Marie was very active in the quilting and doll making world until she passed away in 2011, six weeks shy of her 93rd birthday.

An anonymous donor approached Carolyn and offered to sponsor this first runner-up award on two conditions: One, that she, the donor, would remain anonymous and Two, that Road to California call the prize, “The Marie White Masterpiece Award.” Road gladly agreed to her terms.

Winning the Award

What was Janet doing when she got word that she had won this prestigious award? “I was in my basement working on my next quilt! I never got the promised email on Tuesday night, so I kept perusing Facebook, knowing one of my Facebook friends would be attending the sneak preview. Sure enough, Wednesday night, I saw a picture of my quilt and the ribbon that said Marie White Masterpiece Quilt!!!” Marie was “thrilled” with her award.

Last year, in 2019, Janet won Road to California’s Best of Show award. How did winning the Marie White Masterpiece Award in 2020 compare to last year’s prize? “It’s pretty much right up there with the Best of Show I won last year. I mean with the competition as amazing as it is at Road to California, I could not be more thrilled to place in the top awards with any of my quilts!”

What’s in Janet’s future?

Janet said she is going to use her prize money to help pay down the deductible on her medical insurance as her husband was in the hospital for 4 days the week prior to this win. She also figures that purchasing some more fabric and thread will also be sneaked in.

Janet is currently working on her next alphabet quilt. This next quilt be number 22 in her series. She’s hoping to have it finished this spring and will probably be visiting California next January. She’s keeping her fingers crossed!!

Road 2020 Top 10 Highlights

January 28th, 2020

Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show was our best yet!!! What made it so special? New changes, updates, and of course, the quilts. Here are the Top 10 Highlights from Road 2020:

#10- The Ballroom

Traditionally, during Road to California, the Ballroom at the Ontario Convention Center housed Special Exhibits and Vendor Booths. For 2020, Road redesigned the Ballroom to only have quilts on view. Both Special Exhibit Quilts and winning quilts from our 2020 Quilt Contest were displayed. Street signage was added to organize the locations of the quilts. Special LED lighting from the floor highlighted the quilt designs. Throughout the show, piano music was performed by John Livingston. Several guests remarked that they “felt like they were in a museum.” “I liked how I didn’t feel rushed. No one was bumping into me trying to get to a vendor.” Another guest said, “It was so calming. I could really see the quilts.”

#9- Seventeen Special Exhibits

Road 2020 had the most quilt exhibits than ever before, featuring quilts ranging from Art to Traditional and everything in-between. In celebration of Road’s 25th Anniversary, six of the exhibits were invited from overseas.

#8- Mayor’s Choice Award

The Mayor of Ontario, California, Paul Leon, stopped by the show on Thursday to offer his congratulations and recognize Road to California on their 25th Anniversary. He presented a certificate and a crystal trophy to Road’s Owner, Matt Reese, to commemorate the milestone.

Top 10 Highlights

For the first time, Road offered a new prize for the contest quilts, The Mayor’s Choice Award. Mayor Leon walked the Ballroom and chose a quilt not already honored. The winner for the first annual Mayor’s Choice Award was Spring Harmony by Kathy McNeil.      

Top 10 Highlights

#7- The Tentmakers of Cairo

While having the Tentmakers of Cairo have been to Road in the past (this was the third time they have been at the show), in 2020, new tentmakers were on site to teach classes and man their Special Exhibit in front of the Exhibit Hall.  Road welcomed Ekramy Hanafy & Ahmed Kamal from Egypt. Students in their classes appreciated the opportunity to learn a new applique technique. In addition, many guests took the opportunity to purchase Egyptian Tentmaker quilts with most of the funds received going back to support the Tentmaker program in Egypt, helping to maintain this ancient tradition.

#6- Road to California Booth

Located in the front of the Exhibit Hall across from the Tentmakers, Road to California’s vendor booth had a new look and lots of new, logo merchandise. Thanks to faculty member, Pat Yamin, for redesigning the booth and overseeing the volunteers who staffed the booth.

#5- Road to California 25th Anniversary Fabric

Road to California commissioned special fabric, highlighting 25 years of Road. Featured on the fabric was Road’s logo and colors along with pictures highlighting past teachers and vendors. Not only was the fabric a great souvenir for Road 2020, it is also going to be the foundation for the Road to California Fabric Challenge in 2021. Plan now to create a garment, quilt or bag comprising of 50% of the 25th Anniversary fabric. Cash prizes will be offered. More information about this challenge is coming in April.

#4- Roadies Give Back

Once again, Road to California and some of their sponsors, provided machines, thread, batting and the room for volunteers to put together quilt blocks made and received at the end of 2019 from around the country for this project. These quilts will be delivered in the Spring of 2020 to patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center, Road’s official philanthropy, at Pomona Valley Hospital.

#3- Daily Giveaways

Each day of the Show, guests had three opportunities to enter to win outstanding giveaway prizes. In the morning, Road to California gave away two, Roadie Bucks– gift certificates with Road’s owner, Matt Reese’s picture on them. These $100 certificates could be spent at any one vendor at the show.  

Twice a day, Thursday – Saturday, sewing machines were given away. Special thanks to Mel’s Sewing & Fabric Center, Pollard’s Sew Creative, and Moore’s Sewing Centers for donating the machines.   On Sunday, Martelli Enterprises donated a Martelli Premier Workstation with Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat.

#2- Jenny on the Road

Over 1,200 guests saw Jenny Doan and her special show, Jenny on the Road, Friday night and Saturday morning. Attendees received swag bags of Missouri Star goodies and were able to shop at a special Pop-Up Shop created just for them. Jenny did not disappoint!! She shared inspirational stories, a great sense of humor, and directions for making several of her quilt designs.

#1- Best of Show

Over 200 quilts were judged for Road’s 2020 Quilt Contest. The winner of Best of Show was Marilyn Badger. Her winning quilt, Christmas in St. Andrews, won $10,000 from Road’s Platinum Sponsor, Gammill Quillting Systems.

What a show!! These Top 10 Highlights were just a sampling of all that was Road to California 2020. Road will be featuring stories from the show here on the blog in the coming months. Keep coming back to read all about the great quilts, vendors, special exhibits, and people that were at Road 2020.

Reminiscing About 25 Years of Road

January 22nd, 2020

Road to California’s previous owner, Carolyn Reese, recently spent time reminiscing about her 25 years with Road.

reminiscing

A Clever Idea

Before Carolyn Reese purchased Road to California, she was a fabric shop owner in Upland, California. The Fabric Patch originally only carried fabrics for garment sewing.

reminiscing

Then, in the early 1990’s, quilting started becoming popular. Carolyn had never quilted before and she decided that she had better learn what it was all about. Her first class was a beginning quilting class taught by Eleanor Burns. Later, she took several classes from Mary Ellen Hopkins.

As a store owner, she had vendor booths in several quilt shows around the country including Paducah. One year, when she was manning her booth, she realized that many of her California customers were there in Paducah shopping. Then and there, the thought came to her: California needs a national quilt show.

About that time, the owner of a quilt conference in Anaheim, California called Road to California, and approached Carolyn to see if she wanted to buy the conference. The conference already had a good reputation and Carolyn thought it would be a great opportunity. So, she bought it and brought the conference to Ontario.

Road to California in Ontario

In the beginning, Carolyn kept Road to California as a 2-day, weekend conference in October, locating it at the Ontario Marriott.

A few years later, she moved the conference to the Ontario Airport Hilton, changed the date to January so it wouldn’t conflict with any other quilt conference, and expanded the conference to include a quilt show. During one of these new shows, a representative from the then, under construction, Ontario Convention Center, approached Carolyn and asked if she would like to move her quilt show to the Convention Center. Carolyn toured the construction site and agreed for Road to California to be the Convention Center’s first client.   

The first year at the Convention Center, the show took up only about a third of the space (about the size of today’s tent!!) and classes were held off-site. By the third year, classes and vendors filled up the entire center.

Reminiscing About Road

Carolyn shared that first and foremost, having her family – 3 sons, their spouses and her grandchildren – work with her on the show was her greatest pleasure.

reminiscing

She was proud that the show continued to grow and that she was able to add something new every year. Carolyn noted, “I never dreamed it would grow to be the second largest quilt show in the country.”

What were Carolyn’s favorite Road highlights? Honoring veterans “was really something” and seeing her grandson, Matt, propose to Jennifer Bennett was “special.”

And her legacy? “I gave quilters a chance to have a good time and forget their problems…I’m glad I did it.”

Carolyn said that having her grandson, Matt, take on the show, was a deliberate choice. Matt had just passed the bar exam and had done every job possible at Road. “He was qualified.” She has been impressed with the changes he has made thus far in continuing to make the show relevant and modern.

Thank you, Carolyn Reese, for reminiscing about 25 years of Road to California and for leading the way for the “Best in the West” Quilt Show. 

Today, Carolyn still sews. She is working on a quilt using blocks her mother made before she passed away.

Fun Facts for 25 Years – Part II

January 21st, 2020

What a history Road to California has!! We’ve uncovered more Fun Facts Part II that have made Road to California the premier Quilters Conference and Showcase that it is today—25 years after it all began.

Continue reading about the fascinating history of Road to California. Here is a rundown of the second half of these fun facts: 

Fun Fact #13: In 2004, quilts from local guilds were displayed in the Atrium along the walls of the Ontario Convention Center.

Fun Fact #14: Eleanor Burns has been honored twice at Road to California. In 2008 for her 30th Anniversary as a member of the quilting world and in 2018, for her 40th Anniversary.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

Fun Fact #15: Due to the growth and popularity of Road, the Ontario Convention Center added a tent to the outside of the main hall in 2008 to house vendor booths. It was a challenge to keep the tent up that year due to high winds and rain.

Fun Fact #16: Longarm machine classes were first introduced in 2010.

Fun Fact #17: Quilts were first hung from the ceiling of the Atrium in 2011. Carolyn Reese picked a theme, “So. Cal Ice Storm,” and local guilds were encouraged to participate.

Fun Fact #18: The following year, local quilt guilds began being invited to provide the quilts on the ceiling of the Atrium. The first quilt guild to participate was the South Bay Quilt Guild.

Fun Fact #19: Road’s first marriage proposal occurred in 2013 when Carolyn Reese’s grandson, Matt, proposed to Jennifer Bennett.

fun facts part II

Fun Fact #20: Road teamed with Operation Homefront and Island Batik to honor Veterans at Road 2014.

fun facts part II

Fun Fact #21: A marching band from Ontario’s Colony High School helped Road celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2015.

fun facts part II

Fun Fact #22: Also, in 2015, the Tentmakers of Cairo made their first appearance at the Show. 

Fun Fact #23: Carolyn Reese retired in 2016 and her grandson, Matt Reese, took over the role as Road to California’s show owner, maintaining the tradition of a family owned and operated quilt show.

Fun Fact #24: Road to California became the leader in utilizing technology for their quilt show. In 2018, a new, state-of-art website was introduced along with a fully automated registration process – the first of its kind in the quilting world. 

fun facts part II

Fun Fact #25: Today, Road to California gives away $92,000 in cash prizes for its quilt contest.

It has been fun to look back and see how Road to California has grown in the past 25 years with our 25 fun facts. We look forward to many more years of innovation and creativity and hope you will continue to join us on our journey.

Fun Facts for 25 Years- Part I

January 17th, 2020

What a history Road to California has!! We’ve uncovered 25 Fun Facts that have made Road to California the premier Quilters Conference and Showcase that it is today—25 years after it all began.

Here is a rundown of the first half of these fun facts:  

Fun Fact #1:  Carolyn Reese purchased Road to California in 1991. At the time, it was a small quilt conference located in Anaheim, California.

Fun Fact #2:  Road to California is a family owned and operated show. Carolyn Reese, her three sons with their spouses, and later, her grandchildren, have all participated in different roles throughout the years. From handling technology, logistics, and vendor support, to passing out programs, manning the Road Booth and helping instructors, everyone has had a job to do.  

fun facts
Carolyn Reese with her 3 sons, Mike, Darrell, and David

Fun Fact #3:  When Carolyn bought the show, she moved it to Ontario, California. The first location for the show was at the Ontario Marriott Hotel (which today is the Gateway Hotel) located across the street from where the Ontario Convention Center stands today.

Fun Fact #4:  The first version of the Reese Road to California was a weekend conference held in October for Southern California residents only. There were 3 teachers offering workshops.

Fun Fact #5:  Wearable Art was introduced at Road in 1993. For several years, fashion shows were part of the conference.  

Fun Fact #6:   The date for Road was changed from October to January so that it wouldn’t conflict with AQA’s Houston show. Due to the change, Road was not held in 1995.

Fun Fact #7:   In 1996, Road to California moved to the Ontario Airport Hilton and partnered with the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds and their event, “Crossroads.” It was the first time a juried and judged quilt show was offered, giving away $5,000 in cash prizes. Besides showcasing over 200 quilts, doll making was also on display.

Fun Fact #8:  The judges for the first quilt contest were John Flynn, Paula Needlestrom and Anita Shackleford. John Flynn will be one of the judges for Road 2020.

Fun Fact #9:  Also, in 1996, vendors were invited for the first time.  

Fun Fact #10: Road to California moved to its permanent home at the newly opened Ontario Convention Center in 1997. Road was the Convention Center’s first patron. Today, it is their biggest event.  

fun facts

Fun Fact #11: The physical footprint of Road’s entire show for the first year at the Convention Center was the same size as today’s vendor tent.  

Fun Fact #12: Road’s original logo was hand drawn. Today, Road has two computer generated designs: The California poppy and the newest logo which will be introduced at the Anniversary Show.

Continue reading more fun facts in our next blog post…