American Genius Highway Quilt Trail highlights Missouri quilt shops
The St. Joseph Conventions and Visitors Bureau is capitalizing on the popularity of quilting for its latest tourism promotion, the American Genius Highway Quilt Trail.
The trail features 15 quilts shops in 14 cities located on or near Highway 36. That list includes the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Mo. The idea came from one of the quilt shops on the trail and was planned by all 15 shops with the help of the Beth Carmichael, director of development and special projects for the St. Joseph Conventions and Visitors Bureau.
“They were really excited about it, Carmichael said. “They are all seeing additional business because of the Missouri Star Quilt Company, but they really wanted to come together and develop this new quilt trail.”
April 15 through October 31 each participating quilt shop will have a Quilters Passport available for visitors on the quilt trail. Visitors can get the passport stamped at each shop and pick up a pattern for an American Genius Highway Quilt Trail quilt. The first person to return a completed quilt top using all 15 blocks and turn in a completed Quilters Passport to a participating shops will win free hand quilting services from the Amish quilters at the Shearwood Quilts & Crafts in Jamesport, Mo. Each shop will also have one $25 gift certificate for the first finished quilt top and Quilters Passport to be turned in at that location.
Rosie’s Quilts in Marceline, Mo., is one of the shops featured in the American Genius Highway Quilt Trail. A town of just 2,200, it was the boyhood home of Walt Disney and is one of the towns that inspired the design of Main Street USA at the main entrance of Disneyland.
“I’m hoping it will bring more traffic to my shop,” said Rosie Johnson, owner of Rosie’s Quilts. “We’re small and kind of off the path, about a mile or two out of town.”
Most of her customers come from a 55-mile radius around the town, but she occasionally gets a few quilters from Kansas City who have heard about her shop through word of mouth. She hopes when people visit her shop as they travel the American Genius Highway Quilt Trail, that they will also check out some of the other sights her town has to offer.
“I think it is lovely. We do have some interesting museums along the way and antique places and the quilt shop, of course,” Johnson said. “I do hope it will bring more traffic, not just for me, but for the other people in town. The restaurants and museums. Anything that helps one, helps the whole community.”
Planning the Quilt Trail along Missouri Highway 36, also known as the American Genius Highway, was a deliberate decision to help showcase some of Missouri’s history. Sliced bread was invented in the corridor, Mark Twain and the founder of JCPenny all of also have ties to the area, among other famous characters in the country’s history.
“That gives them another opportunity to check out some of these other locations as well,” said Carmichael. “Especially if you re traveling with a husband who, perhaps, is not interested in quilts.”
Visit AmericanGeniusHighway.com/map/ for more information about the American Genius Highway Quilt Trail including participating shops, what each shop is known for and a map.