ONTARIO - Quilters massed at Ontario Convention Center on Sunday to enjoy a four-day gathering with other hobbyists who share their love of sewing and creativity.
"It's been gangbusters. It's the start of a good year," said Monica Gonzales, who owns Monica's Quilt and Bead Creations. "Things are changing. We can see it. We can feel it. Things are definitely better than last year. People are opening their wallets."
Gonzales was one of the many exhibitors at the annual Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase, which concluded Sunday at Ontario Convention Center.
Monica's Quilt and Bead Creations, which has a brick-and-mortar store in Palm Desert, was among the many exhibitors participating in the four-day quilt show.
At her booth, Gonzales sold a wide selection of brightly-colored cotton fabrics. Other vendors dealt in needles, cutting tools, furniture, patterns and myriad other wares related to the quilting trade.
The vendors had no shortage of potential customers.
"The convention center tells us there's more food eaten here in one week than there is all year. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds good," said Mike Reese, the quilt show's chief financial officer.
Road to California is a Reese family affair. Carolyn Reese's, Mike's mother, founded the show and her children and grandchildren are a part of the operation.
There would be four generations of the family working at the show, except Mike Reese said his own grandchildren are not quite old enough to be a part of the business.
Road to California, now 18 years old, only takes place in Ontario. Instead of traveling across the country to meet quilting enthusiasts, quilters from other states and nations make the journey to the Reese family's show.
Carolyn Reese said the tally of this year's visitors would add to 18,000 to 20,000 people who came to see quilts and quilting products from a vast swath of the United States and beyond.
"There are quilts from all over the U.S.," she said. "Probably 45 states, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Europe."
The quilt chosen as Road to California's "Best in Show" was a creation called "Red Feathers."
Claudia Clark Myers and Marilyn Badger of St. George, Utah, collaborated on the crimson, gold and silver-colored creation that is somewhat reminiscent of art nouveau style while using feathers and a mariner's compass as design elements.
Other quilts at the show included "Monet in Pasadena," which mimics the famed impressionist's paintings of water lilies.
Another, "Pioneer Mother: Symbol of Courage, Strength and Determination," depicted the "Madonna of the Trail" statue seen north of the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Euclid Avenue in Upland.
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