There’s a new Appalachian Trail that requires no hiking, biking or enduring the outdoor elements…and you have an opportunity to hear about the creation of this trail in Blount County at the Blount County Public Library.
If you’ve noticed colorful quilt block patterns painted on the sides of various buildings in the area, you’ve observed a part of the Appalachian Quilt Trail (AQT).
“The Appalachian Quilt Trail: People and Places” will be presented at the library on Tuesday, August 12, at 7:00 p.m. by a panel of local people who are participating in various ways.
To discuss the history and background of the establishment of the AQT here in Blount County, along with some other upcoming heritage tourism activities, Jeanie Hilten will speak. Hilten is the Special Events Coordinator at the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau, Townsend Visitors Center.
Jane Richardson from Mountain Sage Gallery will share information about being a member of the quilt trail and will also discuss the Townsend Artisan Guild.
Nancy Williams, from the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, will talk about the museum and its programs.
In addition, several quilters, Ila Mae Morton, Maetta Conrad and Dorothy Belcher, will show their work.
Several locations in this area participate in the AQT, including Mountain Sage Gallery at Townsend, several locations along the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s loop road, Museum of Appalachia and the Appalachian Crafts Center at Norris.
Quilt block patterns are painted on craft stores, businesses, heritage locations and historic farms all over the Appalachian region. These colorful patterns draw attention to the businesses or historic sites and boost their visibility to all who pass by.
In addition to visiting historic downtown areas of Appalachia, local residents and tourists have the delight of seeing beautiful heritage areas, viewing art galleries and purchasing art and craft items as well as fresh produce.
To participate in the AQT, businesses or individuals apply by accessing applications online or from local places, submitting information about the site and sending photographs. These applications are then reviewed to determine if the applicant site “will benefit the existing ‘loop’ ” that is already in place, and the applicant is evaluated as to the purpose of the business or location and its history to see if it meets the basic mission.
Once a design is selected by the host or AQT committee, a quilt block is painted in either a small 4x4 or large 8x8 and mounted on a wooden frame which is attached directly to the site. The AQT then offers additional marketing opportunities, and businesses can advertise in the AQT brochure which is made available at Tennessee welcome centers and various quilt block locations. More information about the AQT can be found at the website: www.vacationaqt.com or call 865-828-4586 or 888-755-4AQT (toll free).
Free and open to the public, the program is at the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.