Pioneer Day April 21

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See quilting, blacksmith demonstrations and renowned folk artist Butch Anthony at Historic Fort Mitchell event

By Toni Stauffer

On Saturday, the Russell County Historical Commission will host the third annual Pioneer Day at the Fort Mitchell historic site from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. ET. This year the festival will feature a judged quilt show with ribbons to be awarded and an art competition with prizes.

Debbie Hillestad, owner of the quilt and sewing shop Stitch Therapy in Auburn, is one of the quilt show judges. Hillestad is also a sewing machine dealer, instructor and an expert in heirloom sewing and smocking.

Another quilt show judge is Linda Camp, owner of Sunday Best Quiltworks in Ellerslie. In addition to being an instructor, Camp is also a designer of patterns and tools as well as an educator in quilt history. She will demonstrate from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. ET a technique and tool to make half-square triangles for use in various quilts. “I am demo-ing our very own product, exclusive to Sunday Best Quiltworks—the half-square triangle stencil,” Camp said. “It’s a quick and easy way to make 32 perfect half-square triangles in 15 minutes.”

Judge and quilter Teresa Singleton is former co-owner of Sunday Best Quiltworks, a pattern designer, and retired instructor.

The final judge for the quilt show is Lain Stowe, owner of Sew Much Fun in Columbus. She is a machine dealer, educator, designer, and a certified instructor for Judy Niemeyer classes. Stowe will demonstrate from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET a technique for making curved Log Cabins and using those blocks in quilts.

“This will be on how to make your Log Cabin blocks the curvy way and to make your strips come out perfect every time,” Stowe said.

In addition to demonstrations by judges, Flavin Glover of Auburn will demonstrate her techniques for using Log Cabins in quilts. Glover is a nationally acclaimed quiltmaker, designer, teacher and an author of quilting books. She has been published in many quilt magazines.

Quilting demonstrations will be held in the Visitor’s Center and should be of great interest to both experienced quilters interested in learning or improving quilting techniques and novices interested in the basics.

The festival grows bigger every year with something new for everyone. This year Seale native Butch Anthony, artist, picker, and builder of things, will be there with art, curiosities, and very strange items from his Museum of Wonder. Anthony, who has been called a “national” treasure, has been featured in The New York Times and other prominent publications and galleries. For more information, you can go to the museum Web site:

Attractions that have made the festival a favorite in the region, like blacksmithing and log skidding demonstrations, can be re-visited or discovered. In addition to lively, historical re-enactments, there is Colonel Cromwell’s orginal circa 1840 log cabin, a carriage house, the Fort Mitchell Indian Heritage Center and Memorial, a video on the early history of Russell County, and the reconstructed 1813 fort.

The third annual Pioneer Days event is sure to be a memorable event for the entire family. “We have such a long and varied history in Fort Mitchell, said Naomi Campbell, event chair and long-standing member of the Russell County Historical Commission.

“The Fort is a huge part of Russell County’s rich history. We want everyone to come out and experience an exciting day at the Fort. You can even have your picture taken in a real stage coach!”

Visitors will also be able to sit and enjoy food from one of the many vendors, or treats from the sweet shop while listening to live music. For more information, go to, or email