March 17, 2020 – Press Release
As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, and after the most serious consideration, ongoing discussions with the convention center in Pittsburgh and the receipt of concerned emails and phone calls from some exhibitors and attendees—Quilts, Inc. has decided to CANCEL the upcoming spring edition of International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. This show was scheduled for May 15-17, with events beginning May 13, right on the edge of the eight-week “no go” time period, one that could easily be extended. We are working with Pittsburgh to return another year.
In our more than 45 years of producing consumer and trade shows for quilters and the quilting industry, we have never before had to take such a draconian measure. We have held shows amidst great uncertainty and high anxiety just weeks after the Sept. 11 tragedy, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Harvey which devastated our own hometown of Houston.
But this current situation is something entirely different, and it has required a different outlook and decision. When we considered the state of national emergency, the unbelievably rapid spread of the virus, the ban of large gatherings already in place in many cities (perhaps Pittsburgh will be next), the understandable reluctance of people to travel, and the ban on foreign flights that made it impossible for many of our overseas shopowners to attend, our decision became clear.
I know that many of you have already made arrangements for traveling, hotel stays, and even perhaps shipping. I know that the orders you place for your store or the ones you write for your company’s merchandise, are crucial to the success of your business. Holding shows like Market is crucial to my business, so cancellation is a painful step for us also. But we know that this is the right decision to make.
Please note that we are currently working on the issue of refunds or fee rollovers for both exhibitors and attendees, and more details on that will come shortly.
We are investigating the idea of a virtual show and hope to have news soon. We are still planning to hold the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California, from July 9-11. Please check our website at Quilts.com for any new announcements. In the meantime, because the health, protection, and well-being of our exhibitors, attendees, faculty, and staff are of great importance to us, we hope that all of you will follow the Center for Disease Control’s advice for protecting yourself and your family HERE.
It seems obvious to state that this is a tough, scary, and unprecedented time. But I have a lot of faith in quilters and in the quilting industry and in its ability to meet this once in a hundred years’ threat. All of us face an economic fallout from this. Stores cannot help but be affected by people being strongly urged to stay home. Manufacturers almost certainly will see a related downturn in retailer orders.
But I also have great faith in American resolve and in our history of coming together to fight our common foes, whether they be human or viral. And lastly, I have faith we will put aside fear and dread and say no to dystopian doomsayers and rise above this challenge in the basic human spirit of unity, community, and kindness.
We will get through this. Together. And quilting will go on to grow again.
President/CEO, Quilts, Inc.
Founder/Director Emeritus, International Quilt Market