I Am Local 6: Bonnie Browning and AQS QuiltWeek

Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Needle and thread. AQS QuiltWeek and Bonnie Browning. They just go together. 

For more than two decades, Bonnie has been a very familiar face at the show.

In a crowd, she stands out.

"Bonnie is awesome," said vendor Deb Granger, from Michigan. "We love her."

Bonnie’s job as American Quilter Society executive show director is to make sure one of the biggest events in Paducah goes off without a stitch. 

"We have a few fires we have to put out," said Bonnie, but not many.

Bonnie told us relationships are part of her strategy for success.

"You do a good job," Bonnie told a senior volunteer at the 2017 AQS QuiltWeek.

Also, giving credit where it’s due.

"It takes many hands to put on this quilt show," Bonnie explained. "And we use people from all throughout the community."

She also does everything possible to make sure the quilters get what they came for.

"They come to this show to eat, breathe and sleep quilting," Bonnie said. "We want to stay on that forefront of what’s happening new in the world of quilting."

It’s a tradition since the show’s birth in 1985, the only show she didn’t attend.

"I entered a quilt in the second year, 1986, and I was a third place winner at that quilt show," Bonnie said with pride.

In 1994, her quilting friends told her about an opening within AQS.

"I sent Meredith Schroeder a letter saying that I ‘d heard that, and if they were looking for someone, I was interested in talking to her about it," Bonnie said. "And the rest of it’s history."

Is Bonnie considering returning 23 years later?

"Until my knees give out, you know, I plan to work," Bonnie said. "I certainly enjoy what I do."

When we asked what she hopes she’s remembered for, the answer came quickly.

"I think I’d like for people to know that I enjoyed planning a party for 30,000 people, and they all came," Bonnie said with a laugh.

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