Current Quilt Exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum AQS Show
Current Quilt Exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (photo courtesy of museum)

During the American Quilting Society Show and Contest in Grand Rapids next week, you'll see award-winning quilts and artistic creations that will impress and inspire you.

After you've spent the day perusing quilts and filling your brain with ideas for your next quilting project, you can kick back and enjoy the many evening activities and specials available to AQS Show attenders in Grand Rapids:

Wednesday, August 22: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Admission for AQS ticketholders is just $5, and the museum is open until 8:00 p.m.

Don't miss: The special contemporary art quilt exhibits, Creative Force 2010 and Beyond Comfort, include a stunning array of juried art quilts like Elizabeth Barton's The Strength of Quiet Windows and Diane Wright's Promised Land.

Current Quilt Exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum AQS Show
photo courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Insider Information: "These quilters come from all over the world, from big cities and country towns," says Bettina Cousineau, Exhibit Designer at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. She says it's fascinating to see how the quilters varied backgrounds inform their quilt designs, both in style and theme, and to compare their differences and similarities.

Thursday, August 23: Grand Rapids Public Museum.

AQS ticketholders (bring your conference badge) receive $1.00 off admission. The museum is open until 8:00 p.m.

Don't miss From 5:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 13 quilts, most from the 19thcentury, will be on display for a white glove show.

Current Quilt Exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum AQS Show
photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Insider Information: "We just made the final selection for this exhibit," says Gina Bivens, Public Programs Manager at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. She explains that the majority of the quilts are from the 1800s and although they're fragile, they're in very good shape because they're not typically on display. "They're beautiful quilts and we picked a variety of styles," says Bivens. "Some look like new!"

Friday, August 24: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Tickets are just $4 for AQS attenders and themuseum is open until 9:00 p.m.

Dont miss: the Patches of Color, an engaging exhibit that challenges viewers to think about art and meaning by juxtaposing two masterful quilts by Susana Allen Hunter with two wonderful and popular modern paintings (Richard Diebenkorn's Ingleside, and Ben Nicholson's 16 December 1939).

Quilt by Susana Allen Hunter, photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Art Museum AQS Show
Quilt by Susana Allen Hunter, photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Insider Information: "On Friday nights we're open late, until 9:00 p.m.," says Kerri VanderHoff, Marketing and Public Relationship Director at the GRAM, "and it's more casual, with a cash bar and music in the lobby." She encourages AQS attenders to come see the quilts, which she describes as gorgeous quilts housed in an architecturally renowned building. "They're improvisional quilts, which makes you think of jazz and free-flowing compositions," she says, "and thats a really wonderful analogy for these quilts."

There are also several events happening throughout the week in Grand Rapids during the AQS Show.

3rdAnnual Grand Rapids Restaurant Week, August 15 25

Have you tried Panzanella Salad (heirloom heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, onion, arugula, crouton, fresh mozzarella, balsamic, EVO) or Frutti de Mar (shrimp, scallop, calamari, tiny vegetable gazpacho, arugula, avocado vinaigrette)?

Both of them - two of my favorites! - will be offered at Bistro Bella Vita during Grand Rapids Restaurant Week, when 62 restaurants delight foodies by offering prix-fixe 3-course meals using locally sourced food. (Most offer 3 courses for $25 per person.)

It's the perfect time to try a new restaurant or new food, and perfectly timed this year to coincide with the AQS Show. Click here for a list of participating restaurants and menus. Reservations strongly recommended!

Rock the Rapids, August 20 - August 25

If you're in the mood for music, the outdoor venue at the Van Andel Arena is the place to be. This downtown musical festival will feature Toby Keith, Boyz II Men, and more. Ticket info here.

Polish Festival, August 24 26

Watch cooking demos on Polish foods like sweet Krusciki or hearty Golumbki, enjoy plentiful music, and kick your heels up on the wooden dancing platform at the 30th anniversary of the Polish Festival. The fun takes place at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.


Friday - Sunday: 11:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

Quilters, The Musical, August 22 25

History unfolds story by story as the vignettes in this musical reveal what pioneer life was like for American women. Each episode is a patch in the quilt of their lives: girlhood, marriage, childbirth, spinsterhood, twisters, fire, illness and death.

Tickets: $18 ($16 for Senior Citizens and Students)

Showtime: 7:30 at Master Arts Theatre