The center panels of the quilt symbolize the family going to the County Fair. The colors at the bottom of the quilt represent sunset, and as you progress to the top, sunrise! The top and bottom panels were constructed by Becky Reisinger. The (two) blocks making up the family are the work of Jane Gardner, Alice Yerk and Edith Volzke.
The livestock panel represents the hundreds of thousands of livestock exhibited at Nebraska County Fairs over the years; (two) blocks were made by Clara Hillmann and Lynn Hillmann. The roof lines quilted behind the livestock are copied after the Seward County Fair livestock barns.
The (four) blocks in the center of the quilt represent the Seward County Fairgrounds. The Seward County Fair historical old round barn which burned in 1961, the grandstand, and the Seward County Ag Pavilion are just three of the structures featured in this collage.
The four blue diagonal strips surrounding the buildings represent the Blue River, which passes through the fairgrounds. Cathy Cattle constructed this panel.
At the top are the 4-H panels constructed by Mandy Vrbka, and the FFA symbol, made by Beth Vrbka. These two symbols, along with ribbons of excellence, and balloons, signify what county fairs are all about — kids and their projects! The balloons were constructed by Beth Hand. The quilt center represents Seward County Fair, but with a few alterations could stand for any good, old fashioned Nebraska County Fair!
Starting with the outside quilt blocks, clockwise from upper right hand corner is K.C. Fouts, Seard County Agent, 1926-1946. He is credited with starting the first 4-H Club in Nebraska and helped establish the strong agriculture and irrigation base in Seward County. This quilt block was made by Bea Niemoth and Sandy Wright.
The Nebraska State Fair symbol is easily recognized by all State Fairs which sets the guidelines for many county fair projects, and the first weekend in September fair represents the culmination of many 4-H, FFA and Open Class projects. This panel was sewn by Sheila Beins.
Lynn Hillmann constructed the block of canned fruits, watermelon and pumpkin. The fabrics in the canned fruits are quilt realistic, and what is a county fair without exhibits of crops, poultry and flowers. These blocks were made by Carol Schmieding, Clara Hillmann, and Norma Novotny, and contain much detail. Be sure to see the chicken coop wire quilted in behind the chicken and goose!
A long time tradition of the Seward County Fair is the Demolition Derby, which signifies the close of the fair. The demo usually is our largest entertainment event, and was depicted in the quilt by Kay Schroeder and Carol Briggs.
The rodeo block represents another important part of our fair and fairgrounds. Numerous rodeos, 4-H and Open Class horse shows, and roping events are held here annually. This bronco rider block was sewn by Carol Schmieding. (Note the rodeo chutes in the black round stitching.)
The next block represents all the sewing exhibits annually displayed at the County Fairs. Lift up the miniature log cabin quilt to see detail stitching and the quilted thimble and scissors. Nancy Stutzman created this block.
Baked goods are another important display at many county fairs across Nebraska. You can almost smell the pie and taste the fresh baked bread in this block which was quilted by Florence Keller and Jean Walsh.
The Ak-Sar-Ben block symbolizes the largest 4-H livestock show in the world, and all the financial support given to county fairs through the Ak-Sar-Ben grant program. Many county fairs have facilities due to the generosity of Ak-Sar-Ben donations. Lillian Eicher constructed this block.
The final block is the carousel, which symbolizes the carnivals which are so important to our county fairs. The colorful lights and musical sounds make an excellent background in which we conduct our fairs. Katie Coleman made this block.
The narrow tan border which frames the quilt blocks has the names of the 14 Seward County towns quilted into it. These 14 communities at one time were home to a post office.
The light brown border is dedicated to all the machinery exhibits at the county fairs. Twenty-nine tractors are quilted into this border, each different, representing antiques and modern tractors. The quilted tractors were a contribution of Jan Stehlik.
The Seward County Fair Quilt is a historical representation of the Seward County Fair and Fairgrounds and what they stand for! The Ag Society wishes to thank the hundreds of people who contributed time and effort to make the artwork a reality, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!