The St George Barn Quilt Trail is the lasting legacy of the St George Bi-Centennial celebrations during 2014. The preparation for the Trail began with an idea in July 2013! In September 2013 Brant County 4-H Leaders, Edith Stone and Joan Crawford-Wehrstein lead a 4-H Club, Our Heritage-History-Barn Quilts. During this Club, with the assistance of the South Dumfries Historical Society (Deborah Andre,Jung Choi, Cliff Jones, David Simpson, David Thomson, Kelly Warner), providing the themes and general information and history the members designed 6 barn quilt blocks. These blocks represented various aspects of the Villages 200 years. The designs included: apples, artesian well, early industry, lilies, railroad, and veterans. The 2 foot by 2 foot painted designs were presented to the South Dumfries Historical Society and the St George Bi-Centennial Committee( Cliff Jones, Rodger Lyster, Willie Morley, Tom Pate, Steve Schmitt, David Simpson, David Thomson, John Wehrstein, John Wheat,) at the Levee held on January 1st, 2014.
In late 2013 and early 2014 a funding application was initiated for provincial funding. Seed funding, 1/3 of the total funds raised, was received through Ontario Barn Quilt Trails and Ontario Trillium Foundation. Requirements of the funding were: the Trail must have at least 10 or more barn quilts, at least 8 feet square, route must be on paved roads and 50% of the quilt blocks must be secured to barns or heritage buildings and seen from the road. Through the funding process budgeting was prepared using a cost of $1,000 for completion of each quilt block. This $1,000 included MDO board, paint, framing and installing. The remainder of the details like painting would be completed by community volunteers.
In January 2014 the staff and grades 7 and 8 students of St George German Public School were approached to design 4 to 6 quilt blocks and paint 2 to 4 blocks. The very creative and talented studentstook on the task with enthusiasm. Over 30 designs were received from the students. After review with the 4-H Leaders and the South Dumfries Historical Society the final 4 designs were selected. They were agriculture, barbershop, hockey and library. The students involved in these designs were: Cortney Davidson, Anna Kozbar, Lacey Oliver, Russell Reist and Holden Vanderhoek.
The 2 additional designs, Carolinian forest and firefighters were designed by the 4-H Leaders. So now there were 12 designs for the St George Barn Quilt Trail.
A local fund raising campaign began to raise the additional funds required. Edith and Joan made numerous presentations requesting funding and also support of volunteers for various aspects of the project. By the end of March $15,000 had been raised and a 5000 square foot location secured for the painting portion of the project! The students at St George German Public School, under the leadership of Wendy Hamilton, agreed to paint 2 of the boards at the public school.
On April 12, 2014 the set-up and painting began. The painting process took eight weeks. This involved numerous coats of primer and paint to achieve a spectacular looking finished product! The primer was applied onto the MDB board using a paint roller. The cross-hatch brush stroke, was used when applying the exterior paint; in some cases there were as many as 4 coats of paint applied to achieve the colour density that was required. AND this entire process involved the hands and hours of many!!! The total number of volunteers was 40 and the total number of volunteer hours for the painting process alone was approximately 350 hours!!!
The barn quilt blocks were then left to cure for a few weeks. The ne t step along the way was having each block mounted on the 2” by 4” by 8’ square frame. This took about a week to complete. Once the framing and mounting were complete the installation of the blocks began on the chosen sites in and around the Village.
A volunteer celebration event was held on Friday September 12, 2014 to recognize the efforts of the volunteers, the donors, the suppliers and the hosts. The total number of individuals involvedin the St George Barn Quilt Trail commemorating the St George Bi-Centennial is over 100!!! Fantastic community support for this last legacy, amazing!! Well done everyone!!