By Joshua Schuetz
One year ago, CEDA team member Hillary Tweed was approached by a group of women in Benson who had an idea: to revive the Benson’s Quilt and Garden Tour, which was last held more than thirty years ago.
“They wanted to get the event going again in Benson, so we started meeting monthly to begin planning,” Tweed said. “This was all done because members of the community wanted to contribute, so the quilters and gardeners donated their materials and space.”
A quilt and garden tour is exactly what it sounds like: gardens from around the community were chosen, and quilts were placed around them, along with refreshments, offering attendees the chance to enjoy local art, crafts, ambience and food.
When Tweed and the group began recruiting quilters, they discovered more interest in
quilting—and the event—than they had expected. “We had so many quilts submitted that we had to cap it at 120,” Tweed said. “As we started receiving positive feedback from people in Benson, other organizations jumped on board.”
The Zetetic Study Group provided the refreshments served at the event, and Thrivent Financial also offered monetary support. The Benson Golf Club, meanwhile, donated the use of the clubhouse to sell tickets for the event.
Tweed said the reason she was contacted was that the local organizers were aware of the economic development office’s work on other area events and its use of social media to promote local activities.
“We have a music in the market event, and I help with managing the Benson Facebook Page, so they knew our office was involved in organizing and promoting events,” Tweed said. “It also helps that I like to quilt, too!”
When all was said and done, the event, held on June 28th, was more successful than its organizers had expected, with over a hundred quilts on display across several gardens in the community and attendees.
“We had a lot of people whom I didn’t expect to see there—it wasn’t just quilters and gardeners, and we were able to have local artists come and paint landscape scenes at the event, which people really liked.” Tweed said. “It truly was something for the entire Benson community, and it was great that we were able to revive it.”