There are Convention traditions intended to comfort those who have lost square dancing friends and family.
The first is a set of Memorial Quilt Panels, which is transported from Convention to Convention. The second is a Memorial Tip in which people are encouraged to use square dancing to remember loved ones.
The IAGSDC® maintains a set of memorial quilt panels, which are displayed at every Convention. This provides both a sense of community history, and a means for our community to honor family and friends who are no longer with us.
Freeman Stamper first envisioned the Memorial Panels in 1994, and the first panel appeared that year at the Stars & Squares Forever IAGSDC® convention, held in Washington, DC. Two more panels joined the first, along with special display frames, over the following couple of years. Gene Boemer painted the panels, and George Fox designed and constructed the frames.
As you pass by the quilt, you may see groups of people from different clubs holding memorial services. During these services, they pin onto the quilt the name badges of those members who have died over the past year. (If a dancer’s name badge isn’t available, sometimes a new badge will be crafted just to pin onto the quilt.)
If you hear someone referring to a “quilt” or “pinning” ceremony at Convention, this is probably what they’re talking about.
In 2001, thanks to the efforts of Brian Smith and John Mckinstry, a database was created of every name on all three panels. Since then, a notebook is provided near the quilt, which contains a list of all of the names on the panels.
If you pin a badge to the quilt, please write down that person's information in the Quilt Database Notebook. The database book is our community’s “backup copy” in case anything happens to any of the IAGSDC® quilt panels.
A fourth panel was added in 2009.