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Eye-catching, colorful barn quilts will boost tourism in Hammond, organizers say

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HAMMOND — The town is about to become a little brighter and more colorful thanks to a project started by a group of residents looking to bring tourists into the community.

Residents are working together to create the Hammond Barn Quilt Trail. Maps will be created featuring the different locations of the symmetrical patchwork designs hanging on various barns in town.

But there’s a twist, organizers say. The quilt designs will be painted on 4-by-4-foot or 8-by-8-foot sheets of plywood, not fabric. The quilts will be visible from the road.

“It adds beauty with the colors and it creates a sense of civic pride,” organizer Lisa Sarfaty said. “Quilting is a part of our heritage and so are the barns. In Hammond we are really lucky because we have a wonderful quilt shop and we have a fantastic museum that has a lot of wonderful quilts on display.”

The project has been successful and boosted tourism in other areas in the Midwest and New York, Mrs. Sarfaty said.

“It has spread all over the country; there are eight in the state that I know of, and most of them are countywide,” she said. “In Leroy, they started their project in 2011. They were going to honor their bicentennial and have 24 quilts for the bicentennial in 2012. They ended up with over 70. Once these get up on the barns, people get very excited.”

Organizers in Hammond are hoping to attract travelers on Route 37 and those on their way to Interstate 81. Ms. Sarfaty said those travelers will be more likely to stop at local businesses in town while on the trail.

Given the town’s recently completed community plan and formation of the Economic Development Council, Ms. Sarfaty said she “thought it was a good time to bring this to Hammond.” Several quilts are already being painted in the bottom of the Town Hall.

Over the next few weeks, organizers are hoping the trend will catch on. The group plans to hold a community meeting in early September to gather input and gauge interest from residents and business. The group also will have an informational booth at the Hammond FFA fair on Sept. 12 and 13.

“Once these get up on the barns, people get very excited about them,” she said. “They are really eye-catching.”

Organizers have formed a Facebook page where people can share their barn quilt photos and follow the project’s progress: www.facebook.com/Hammond.Barn.Quilt.Trail?fref=ts.

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