PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Thousands flood into Paducah for the 2009 quilt show.
It's been called the World Series of Quilting with $127,000 in prizes for hand sewn and machine sewn quilts from all over the world.
Bonnie Browning, executive show director, says 388 quilts from 47 states and 15 different countries competed in the 25th annual show this year.
The Best in Show winner this year came from Australia.
Show attendees say it's the place to come to see some of the world's finest quilts.
"This is kind of the meca for quilters," said Liz Stafford. "It's just the place to be at this time of the year."
It's the place to be for 30,000 to 35,000 quilters the show is expected to bring to the area.
Stafford drove 800 miles with a friend from Baltimore, Maryland.
They're joining in classes, shopping from the more than 400 vendors, and seeing what some call the world's best quilting artisty.
"What I like about Paducah is you do get to see cutting edge quilting not just traditional, but also modern techniques. And you get to see the best of the best in what quilting offers and how we've kind of incorporated now adays the other arts into quilting," said Monica Addison-Walker, a quilt teacher who traveled with her Stafford from Baltimore. "I would think that having this quilt show here would be completely overwhelming for a community but it's actually an integral part of the community."
Organizers say the quilt show brings in $20 million over the five day period.
It's a big boost to the local economy that almost didn't happen this year after organizers complained of poorly maintained rooms at the Executive Inn. However, the current owner of the hotel and the man working to buy it signed an operating agreement to allow clean up at the hotel. Workers deep cleaned the hotel for the show this year.
"I think the hotel rooms look cleaner than I've seen them in a number of years, so they did a great job with that," said Bonnie Browning, executive show director.
But, nothing's set in stone for the show next year.
"Right now, we don't have anybody to negotiate with for next year because they're in the process of selling the hotel," Browning said. "Until the new owners get the closing accomplished on that, we have not negotiated or signed a contract."
For the next four days, quilters will share tips of the trade.
"That's the thing about quilting, we're sort of like golf players," Addison-Walker said. "You keep practciing and practicing and practicing, and you're hoping that you're going to get better, and you do. The more you do it the better you get."
The quilt show is open from Wednesday, April 22nd to Friday, April 24th from 9-6 and Saturday, April 25th from 9-5. Tickets are $11.