Arts and crafts

Festival-goers color and create decorations for their pumpkins in the Heritage Barn at the Grant County Fairgrounds during last year’s Best of the Old West Harvest Festival.

JOHN DAY — The organizers of Grant County’s annual fall festival aim to celebrate the county’s frontier heritage and the talent within the community.

Dubbed the Best of the Old West Harvest Festival and Quilt Show, the event — free and open to the public — will run from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, and 9 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Trowbridge Pavilion of the Grant County Fairgrounds.

The festival will feature multiple vendors from Grant, Harney and Baker counties and beyond, according to organizer Samni Bell with the Strawberry Mountain Quilt Guild, a nonprofit. Bell said the guild makes between 20 and 30 quilts a year and donates them to the Sleep in Heavenly Peace Project, a volunteer organization that builds bunk beds for children and families in need.

Bell said she expects between 100 and 150 quilt entries for the show, where viewers can vote on their favorite quilt. Bell said the quiltmaker in the adult category who gets the most votes could win $150, while kids 7 to 12 can win $25 and teenagers can win $35.

Bell said a 4-foot-by-4-foot barn quilt that she made would be raffled around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Grant County Chamber of Commerce in John Day.

Entries for the quilt show can be dropped off at the Trowbridge Pavilion on Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Arrangements can be made for those unable to drop off entries during those times, according to Bell.

Bell said the festival has demonstrations on quilting on both days of the event, including hand-quilting on a loom, quilting on a domestic machine, and new quilting tools.

Bell said the quilt guild is sharing the costs to rent out the pavilion with the Harvest Festival.

Zach Denney, Grant County rural venture catalyst with RAIN and an organizer of the Harvest Festival, said regardless if people are interested in quilts or the harvest festival, there is something for everyone.

Denney said the festival would have multiple food vendors, a costume contest, a pie-eating contest and a raffle to win a Traeger grill.

Denney said those interested in having a booth at the festival should contact him at 541-589-5565 or

“If you want to be a vendor,” Denney said, “and you show up on Friday, the day of the event, then I’ll find a spot for you.”

Denney said there is no cost to become a vendor.

“Everybody’s welcome,” Denney said. “The more people we can get out there, the better.”



Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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