Dan Patch Days 2019 quilt

Cathy Bloomquist dispalys her handmade quilt with her husband, Vern. The quilt will be the grand prize in this year’s Dan Patch Days button prize drawing on June 23.

Dan Patch Historical Society member Cathy Bloomquist spent an estimated 40 hours putting together the grand prize for the upcoming Dan Patch Days’ annual prize drawing.

Those who purchase this year’s Dan Patch Days button will be entered into the drawing for Bloomquist’s handmade Dan Patch quilt. The drawing’s set for 1 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at the Savage Library.

Bloomquist, an avid quilter, donated 30 quilts on Service Day Saturday this year and another 20 last week to organizations that support youth in need. Quilters with the Shepard of the Valley Church in Apple Valley, including Bloomquist, donate hundreds of quilts each year.

“I easily make 50 to 70 tops a year,” she said, adding it’s important for her to give gifts made by hand.

The prize quilt includes a Dan Patch embroidery by Bloomquist’s friend, Ginger Petersen.

Bloomquist said she spent hours searching for the right depiction of a horse and sulky for the embroidery.

“It not as common as regular horse racing,” said her husband, Vern Bloomquist. “It’s a specific type of race.”

They finally found a design with an accurate resemblance to Dan Patch’s facial features, and Cathy Bloomquist matched it with horse fabric found in a store in Norwood Young America.

“For all we know, that could have been Dan Patch,” Vern Bloomquist said.

The Dan Patch Days button has been around as long as the celebration itself. In the early years, whoever sold the most buttons was dubbed the Dan Patch Days Queen. Later, the button began to be used to grant admission to see live music and other events.

Today’s buttons keep the tradition going, Savage Mayor Janet Williams said. They’re shipped throughout the country each year. Williams said some collectors work to get a button from every year displayed in their homes.

The buttons sell for $5 and help support the festival expenses. Buttons can be purchased from any historical society member member or at the Savage Library or City Hall.

Christine Schuster is a reporter for the Savage Pacer.

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