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Quilters will be honored and non-profits supported at the St. John’s Kula Festival

By Staff | Sep 21, 2017

The St. John’s Kula Festival features more than 50 quilts inside the church. PHOTO BY JEAN HESELDEN.

KULA – On Saturday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church will honor quilters and quilts while celebrating their annual St. John’s Kula Festival.

Reflecting on how the idea for the festival started, church member Marilynn Hirashima reminisced, “It all began in 1982 with a group of ladies who were members of St. John’s Episcopal Church Women’s Organization. It appears that the group wanted to raise money to donate to local nonprofit organizations because the church’s regular budget was already stretched.”

The year before, the women got together and created a special quilt to present to a couple, Colonel Robert and Allie Doe, who had been very important in the life of the parish and were finding it necessary to move back to the Mainland. Different people made each square, which represented something about the ministry of the couple or about their favorite things on Maui.

“Everyone was so impressed by the beauty of this quilt that they came up with the idea to make another one and auction it off to raise money,” said Hirashima. “To do that, they had to have an event to attract a good crowd, and so St. John’s Kula Festival was born. The first quilt show, started in 2012, had about 25-30 quilts from our congregation and from the Maui Quilt Guild. It has grown in numbers and now hosts closer to 50-plus quilts all over the church and the wraparound deck.

“They hang them from the walls, on the backs of the pews, and cover all available space to show them off. The guild sells them at the festival, although not all are available for purchase; some are just to view as art-work.”

Some members from St. John’s also belong to the Maui Quilt Guild and show at the Kula Festival. Several of the quilts are donated for the silent auction and always sell, but the show is mainly to raise money for the guild to continue to offer free classes and support the organization.

The guild is very generous in its endeavors and quilt donations to the St. John’s auction.

Quilts have a way of bringing people, friends and families together. A grand American tradition, every quilt has a story. Something touches us about an item that is handmade, in some cases from bits of fabric from different times in our lives. Some quilts are undeniably works of art, while others are simply designed to delight the eye in their practical use.

“Be sure to come to the festival on the 23rd,” said Hirashima. “Everyone is welcome to come view the quilts and share their stories as they enjoy the whole St. John’s Festival Day. Over the years, other homemade items like jams and jellies, baked goods and produce have been added as well as crafts, a silent auction, activities for children, entertainment and even a food court!”

The original purpose of the Kula Festival, to raise funds for community outreach, has been preserved, as the proceeds are shared with different local non-profits each year. The festival currently provides funding for two charities selected from the congregation as well as programs and ministries sponsored by the church.

This year, the proceeds will go to Family Life Center, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Centers and St. John’s.