It’s a familiar rural scene to many present-day Manitobans and former residents too.
Now a farm set against a brilliant Prairie sky will depict home in Manitoba, captured as a fabric image by two women in their exquisite art quilt.
Phyllis Gagne’s and Coreen Zerr’s quilt, titled Home is a Manitoba Farm and submitted to the Homecoming 2010 Quilt competition, was selected last weekend out of 17 quilt entries as the prize winner to be featured at select Homecoming 2010 events during the upcoming year.
The quilt competition was jointly hosted by the Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies (MAAS) and Homecoming 2010, and unveiled at Hip 2 b Square: Elevating the Art of Quilting, a gala event to kick off rural homecoming events scheduled for this year.
Judges selected the quilt created by Zerr, formerly of Manitoba and now living in Nanaimo, B. C., and Gagne of Portage la Prairie, as the best depiction of Manitoba in the provincial Homecoming Quilt 2010 competition.
Neither Zerr nor Gagne could be present to learn their quilt had won. The honour was accepted by Zerr’s sister Doreen Stapleton.
“I know they’ll be thrilled,” said Stapleton.
A cash prize of $2,800 accompanies the honour. The quilt will also be displayed at Manitoba House during the Vancouver Olympics.
Gagne and Zerr both grew up on farms near Rock Lake, Man. They created the composite scene of both farms from memory and using family photos.
“When we heard about the Manitoba Homecoming Quilt competition our thoughts went right to the farms we were raised on in Manitoba,” they wrote in a description accompanying their quilt.
Officials with Homecoming 2010 hope the thoughts of many more thousands of Manitobans turn homeward this year.
Homecoming 2010, which is promoting the province across Canada, hopes to lure at least 50,000 former Manitobans home for a visit this year, said Homecoming 2010 executive director Kevin Walters.
Family, school and town reunions and many other community events are now on a lengthening list of celebrations being held and promoted under Homecoming 2010, he said. On May 15 over 60 towns will also host a social in conjunction with Homecoming. Neepawa was chosen to be provincial host of Manitoba’s 140th birthday and has five days of celebrations planned.
Anyone with an event planned that brings people home is encouraged to list it on the Homecoming website, Walters said.
The whole idea behind this is reminding former Manitobans what a great place home is and encouraging them to make 2010 the year they decide to come back for a visit, he said.
“This is a year-long event and it’s for the entire province, not just for Winnipeg,” he said. “Our theme is ‘Who are you inviting home and where are you taking them?’”
10 PER CENT JUMP
Another goal is to see communities record at least a 10 per cent increase in attendance at events promoted under Homecoming 2010, Walters added.
That includes all agricultural fairs hosted by this province’s 59 respective agricultural societies.
Liz Roberts, MAAS superintendent and MAFRI rural leadership specialist, said their provincial board jumped at the opportunity to partner with Homecoming 2010.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to partner and create new events,” she said.
Fairs are a perfect fit with Homecoming 2010, given that these events annually and traditionally lure thousands of visitors home, she added.
The winning entries in MAAS’s annual provincial quilt competitions were also unveiled at Hip 2 b Square, which also kicked off the annual convention of MAAS in Brandon.
This year 20 quilts made it to provincial finals. First place in the hand-sewn category went to Maria Branum of the Oak Lake Ag Society and second place to Joyce Scott of the Pelican Lake Ag Society. Juanita Williams of the Spr ingfield/Dugald Ag Society is the first-prize winner in the machine-sewn quilt category. Lois Acheson of the Miami Ag Society won second place.
The Hip 2 B Square reception also featured designer quilts, created as a special initiative of MAAS, with quilt squares purchased by agricultural societies, businesses and individuals, then designed and pieced together by a special quilt-making committee. MAAS’s designer quilts are being donated to Ronald Mc-Donald House.
Provincial Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers said he was very impressed with the skill and creativity expressed in all the displayed quilts.
“I was thrilled to walk through here and see the stories that these quilts tell,” said Struthers, who addressed the Hip 2 b Square gala.