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Families Forever looking for quilt entrants

The Families Forever Garden Quilt show is Aug. 17, and organizers are looking for entrants to display their quilts. The public is welcome to come enjoy viewing the quilts, walking around the garden and sipping some tea at the event, which raises money for two scholarships in memory of Mary Disse Ballard. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Families Forever Garden Quilt Show and Tea is back and looking for quilts.

All proceeds from the show go directly to the Families Forever scholarship, in honor of Mary Disse Ballard. It is Aug. 17 in the home and garden of Peggy Stellmach, Mary’s sister.

The idea of a garden and quilt show in Mary’s honor came to Stellmach by chance.

“As Mary was dying, she mentioned being afraid of being forgotten — a terrible thing to contemplate.  My friend and I tossed ideas around and remembered some outdoor quilt shows we had attended when we both lived in Montana. That’s how the idea was born,” she said.

“Naturally, the idea of making a scholarship followed,” she added.

Families Forever consists of two scholarships.

“Our Miss Northwest Scholarship is in the amount of $500. The scholarship for a Lake Park/Audubon senior girl was $1,500 this year,” Stellmach said.

She is not alone however when it comes to the planning process.

“My brothers and their wives help with a lot of the phases of getting ready and helping that day. Also we couldn’t do without Mary’s family.”

Her sons and their wives all help, as does Mary’s husband and 12-year-old daughter Angelica. She sells lemonade, will be taking pictures this year and is playing the violin when harpist Tami Jensen takes a break.

“Jensen was a member of the Celtic band Northwind Crossing and generously volunteers to play each year while the show is going on,” Stellmach said.

Her husband, Edwin, also helps out by setting up a hanging system for the quilts. Various volunteers also donate their time to make this day possible.

Quilts will be accepted until Aug. 16; they must be turned in that day at Peggy’s house.

Those attending the show will be the judges of the quilt contest. It is strictly a people’s choice competition Stellmach said.

“Anyone from a beginner to a long time expert has an equal chance of winning if the people voting fall in love with a quilt.”

Prizes will be awarded to the top five quilters in the contest. There will be two gift cards rewarded to the first prize winner — one from Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham, and one from Red Pine Quilt Shop in Detroit Lakes.

“Both of these shops have consistently supported us generously. Red Pine just opened last year and immediately offered gift cards for prizes. Bay Window has been involved virtually from the start,” she said.

Second prize will be a gift card for $50 either from Red Pine or Bay Window and a Thirty-One bag. Third prize will be a gift card for $50 from either Bay Window or Red Pine.

Fourth and fifth prize will be a Thirty-One bag. There will also be door prizes for the public. These are various prizes are donated by quilters, businesses or the Families Forever Scholarship group.

There are some new additions to the garden this year as well.

“I have increased the amount of hardy hibiscus, have a small herb garden with fennel, lemon basil, regular basil, and two different types of parsley. We also grow lavender, rosemary and oregano,” Stellmach said.

She said that every year they get more and more visitors to the garden and quilt show.

“It seems to be the combination of the gardens, the house, the quilts, the bottom less cup of tea and the unending free treats are what keep people coming back,” she said. “It is a joyful, relaxing day with so much conversation, appreciation and memories.”

If you are interested in entering a quilt, donating prizes or wish for more information on this year’s garden quilt show, visit

It is $5 to get in, and a limited amount of lunches may be purchased for an additional $8.

The Aug. 17 show goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4020 4th Street Lake Park at the home and garden of Peggy Stellmach, Mary’s sister.

Haley Foster | DL-Online