Lake Park woman to host eighth annual quilt show, tea on August 15
Ever since Peggy and Ed Stellmach moved from Missoula, Mont., to their new home in Lake Park nine years ago, they have worked to transform their surroundings into a haven filled with flowers, herbs and vegetables.
“When we moved here (in July 2006), there were no gardens, just grass and
trees,” says Peggy.
Today, there are flowers and herbs and vegetables galore. Because she loves
flowers, and “my husband doesn’t like to mow,” the Stellmachs’ garden grows a little bit more each year.
“I like to try out different varieties every year,” Peggy says.
The beauty of the Stellmachs’ gardens will be on display Saturday, Aug. 15,
during the Families Forever Garden Quilt Show and Tea.
“I would say we get as many people coming for the gardens as for the
quilts,” Peggy says. “When there’s something new (in the garden), they get kind of excited about it.”
For a small admission fee, guests can come view the gardens as well as more
than 100 quilts and quilted art pieces on display amongst the blooms and
After viewing the quilts and gardens — or before, if they prefer — guests
can sit at one of the tables scattered around the gardens, or under one of two
tents with formal seating arrangements to enjoy tea and scones — or coffee, or
cookies, or the many other homemade goodies that will be served. (A limited
number of full lunches will also be available for sale, Peggy noted.)
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The proceeds from the show, as well as
the various goodie baskets and other items for sale during the
event, will benefit the Families Forever Scholarship Fund, started eight years ago by Peggy in memory of her sister, Mary Disse Ballard.
Ballard, a Lake Park resident who was a daycare provider for over 20 years,
passed away in March 2006 after a five-month battle with stomach cancer. She was a firm believer in the value of families and local communities in shaping young people, especially young women, which is why Peggy decided to set up the scholarship fund in her memory.
Each year, the proceeds from the quilt show are used to award two $500
scholarships — one to a contestant in the annual Miss Northwest Scholarship
Pageant, and one to a female Lake Park-Audubon High School graduating
The two young women chosen to receive the scholarships are chosen based upon a 500-word essay expressing what their families and communities have meant to them in shaping their lives and futures, as well as a short interview with a panel of five independent judges.
“The young women who get these scholarships are just extraordinary,” Peggy
gushed. “They are so accomplished.”
A complete list of scholarship recipients past and present, as well as a
history of the event and photos of past quilts and garden displays, is available
online at quiltsandtea.weebly.com.
Peggy says she hit upon the idea of doing a garden quilt show because of
similar events that she and her friends had been to in the past.
“A friend and I had been to some outdoor quilt shows, and I had given teas
in Missoula as fundraisers,” she says, “and I love gardening, so it all just
kind of gelled.”
Preparations are already well underway for Saturday’s show.
“I couldn’t do this without my family,” says Peggy.
“My husband designed a hanging system (for the quilts), and my
brother-in-law (Mary’s husband) helps hang them, as well as my brothers and my nephews. My sisters-in-law help cashier, hostess, whatever is needed. My niece Angelica (Mary’s daughter) even has a lemonade stand.”
A Detroit Lakes native, Peggy comes from a family of seven siblings, many of
whom still make their home in the lakes area.
“Mary is the only one we’ve lost,” she said of her siblings. “We’ve been
Ed was born and raised in Barnesville, where he still raises vegetables on
the family farm. Though the couple has three sons of their own, none of them
live nearby — Bill makes his home in Portland, Ore., Tim in Arlington, Mass.,
and James in Davis, Calif.
They also have five grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.
Despite all the blessings her family has received, however, Peggy never
forgets the reason why she started this project — or the many friends and family she has lost to cancer since then.
“I wanted a way to remember Mary, but since then, my lifelong best friend
has also died from cancer,” she says, adding that several other relatives and
friends have as well. “We can’t forget these people, what they go through, and
what we miss not having them around.”
Saturday’s show will also include an opportunity for guests to vote on their
favorite quilts and quilt art pieces, with the top vote-getter winning a $150
prize package that includes gift certificates to two area quilt shops as well as
a Gingher rotary cutter (used in quilting). “And there will be door prizes,
too,” Peggy says.
For more information, please visit the website at
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Read more about Peggy and her love for gardening in the Lakes Area Connection newspaper.