In a society where ever-changing technology, social media and instant gratification is pervasive, a growing trend among consumers is a return to old-fashioned, do-it-yourself mentality and an increased interest in activities like baking, canning, crafts and sewing. Riding that trend, one of the largest quilt shows in the Southeast is returning to Jacksonville's Prime Osborn Convention Center September 26-28, 2013 with an all-new theme.

QuiltFest of Jacksonville will explore "Quilting Through the Ages" for its 2013 edition. The show's centerpiece is a huge quilt gallery with more than 400 quilts, but it also features quilt appraisals, rows of vendors and a kid's area. In addition, the show includes a raffle, dining and more.

"Quilting is an art form that is steeped in tradition and has brought people together for centuries, but technology's influence has changed the creative process," said Gail Galloway, Show Organizer. "What has changed is we're seeing a growing number of younger people interested in quilting, sewing and related arts. What hasn't changed is that even to this day, quilters still gather together for modern 'quilting bees'. Our show's mission continues to be a source of information and inspiration, to perpetuate the highest quality of excellence in quilting and related arts."

For quilters, QuiltFest is an open judged show. Prize money will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of 12 categories, Best of Show, Viewers Choice, Artistic Merit, Best Hand Quilting and Best Machine Quilting. Ribbons will be awarded for Judge's Recognition, Honorable Mention, and all Young Quiltmakers.

Some students in our area, like Colleen Glary, will be participating in the event, and have been making quilts for years.

"I would go into my mom's sewing room and watch her," Glary says. "And I guess one day I want to make a quilt."

Glary says she picks out the colors and her mom helps her with the theme. She says that's what makes quilting so much fun.

"I guess it's just the fun of being creative and doing it your way," Glary says.

Each year, QuiltFest organizers give back to the community by sharing proceeds from the show with a variety of local charities including Arlington Food Bank, Heartfelt Ministries, Safe Harbor, Baptist Medical Center, Hospice of NE Florida, Sulzbacher Homeless Center, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, Hubbard House, Seamark Ranch, Beaches Hospital, Light House, Shriner's Hospital-Tampa, Betty Griffin House Linus Quilts, St. Catherine Laboure Manor, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Mandarin Food Bank, Quilts for Veteran's Hospital, Daniel Foundation, Meals-On-Wheels, Woodmen of the World, 4-H of St. Augustine, Million Pllowcase Challenge, Wounded Warriors, Haven Hospice, OperationCarePackages.com and women's shelters.

QuiltFest guests receive a special reduced rate at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel. Contact the hotel directly for reservations at (904) 396-5100 and mention QuiltFest. Reservations must be made before September 1, 2013.

Show hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $10 daily, Thursday is Seniors Day, ages 60 and over receive admission for $7. Children 10 and under and school groups are free (teachers/adults must pay admission).

Free parking is provided. For tickets and more information, please visit www.quiltfestjax.com.