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Missouri Star Quilt Company in historic downtown Hamilton, Mo.

Hamilton, Missouri. Not necessarily on the top of your travel bucket list? Well, this town is a hidden gem not far from Saint Louis -- and it’s all because of its claim to fame -- the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

A great time to visit Hamilton is from September 20-23 when Missouri Star Quilt Company will celebrate its 15th Annual Birthday Bash. It’s going to be SEW much fun.

The Birthday Bash will include 24 free demonstrations; four free trunk shows; eight free cake walks; over 25 vendors and 16 shops to visit; a quilt parade, and a lot more. Come hungry and visit a variety of food truck options offered daily. Plus visit three new stores: Quilted Home, Santa's Sewing Shop and The Fabric Market.

How did Hamilton become a tourist destination for all things crafty?

It’s been called the “Disneyland of Quilting.” It attracts nearly 100,000 visitors every month by the busload. Also known as Quilt Town, USA, the quilting company provides a livelihood for more than 126 employees in the small town of 1,800.

In the mid-1980’s, Hamilton faced a similar fate shared by many small towns across America. Buildings fell into disrepair and streets were vacant. With local jobs few and far between, the locals made long commutes to nearby St. Joseph and to Kansas City to work -- or just left Hamilton altogether.

Once a bustling town, J.C. Penney, who grew up in Hamilton, got his first job in retail on Hamilton’s Main Street in the 1890s. In 1920 Penney opened his 500th store on that same Main Street. Yet, when J.C. Penney’s closed its doors, many local businesses followed.

Decades later, Hamilton was saved by an unlikely source: lots of fabrics and quilts!

Jenny Doan, co-founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company and known as the most popular quilting instructor in the world. films a YouTube tutorial every week. Currently her channel boasts almost 825,000 subscribers and more than 250 million views. Missouri Star Quilt’s flourishing ecommerce, along with the brick-and-mortar retail stores, has flourished into a world renowned quilting and crafting business.

Where is Hamilton, Mo?

Hamilton is located less than four hours from Saint Louis and just one and a half hours northeast of Kansas City on Missouri Highway 36 – referred to as “The Way of American Genius.” It extends across northern Missouri from St. Joseph on the west and Hannibal on the east. It's a perfect small town weekend getaway.