Campaign to expand New Milford Barn Quilt Trail
The six-volunteer New Milford Barn Quilt Trail Committee will on March 1 launch an ambitious crowd funding campaign through www.ioby.com to raise $17,000 online within six weeks.
Every dollar raised on www.ioby.com will be matched by SustainableCT, the entity that certified New Milford as a Bronze Level Sustainable Community in 2017.
Thus, the committee’s community fundraising goal is just $8,500.
According to SustainableCT, the size of individual contributions via the link going live on March 1 that contributors will use:, https://ioby.org/project/new-milford-barn-quilt-trail-phase-two, is not as important as the number of contributors.
“Sustainable CT is more interested in broad community support for any project funded through www.ioby.com,” said Tammy Reardon, grant writer and compliance specialist for the town and a member of the Barn Quilt Trail Committee. “So we appreciate every contribution, no matter the size.”
Corporate and community organizations are also encouraged to support the endeavor with sponsorships.
Sponsors to date include New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, New Milford Commission on the Arts, and the New Milford Farmland & Forest Preservation Committee.
KatArt, a New-Milford-based corporate graphic design firm, is providing generous design expertise pro bono.
Barn quilt trails exist in over 40 US states, including New York (13 counties) and the New England states of Maine (three counties), Massachusetts (one county), New Hampshire (one county) Vermont (one county) and Connecticut (New Milford only).
In 2017, New Milford became the first town in the state to create a barn quilt trail.
New Milford’s trail is accessible at http://newmilfordfarmlandpres.org/barn-quilt-trail/, available to quil trail visitors via mobile devices, and thousands of brochures and cards distributed in town and throughout Connecticut.
This year, support from Mayor Pete Bass’ office and expertise from Economic Development Director Karen Pollard has helped accelerate the 2020 10-barn expansion project.
Funds will purchase the all-weather polyurethane canvases cut to size, acrylic paints and commission transfer of the quilt block designs to the large canvases, which when painted with antique, vintage or contemporary quilt block patterns, will be hung on the barns by professionals.
Each quilt block will take approximately 25 hours to paint.
The New Milford Barn Quilt Trail has been admired by residents over the past two years, including two families that have already painted and hung their own barn quilt blocks that will become part of the expanded trail.
Several other families have expressed the desire to be included in the trail expansion plans.
Sightings of tourists from as far away as Idaho continue to surface.
Raising Profile of Surviving Working Farms
The purpose of the barn quilt trail is to showcase to residents and visitors New Milford’s rich agricultural heritage and to raise the profile of the surviving working family farms, some of which offer seasonal farmstands.
Almost all the antique barns selected for the trail come from a time when over 200-plus New Milford farms were first, a well-known source of delicate tobacco leaves for cigar wrappers and, continuing into the 20th century, of milk, transported fresh by train into cities like New York.
Some of the barns on the trail have survived over a century by being repurposed.
“Over the past decade, New Milford has become much more aware of the value of its natural and historical assets and how important these can be in attracting visitors, creating an economic ripple effect and contributing to our quality of life,” said Bill Devlin, a board member of the Trust for Historic Preservation. Bill, a member of the New Milford Barn Quilt Committee and was the principal committee member in identifying almost 30 surviving antique and vintage barns throughout the town.
Of these, 10 were selected for the expansion of the trail, using criteria such as accessibility, architecture, history and easy visibility from public roads.