Ann Arbor’s Fiber Expo
I sat down with Linda Lundstrom, of the Fiber Expo, to talk about Ann Arbor’s premiere yarn festival. The Fiber Expo started in 2007 and has exploded in popularity, so much so that in 2012, they added a second spring festival to roster. Get ready for two days filled with a bursting marketplace, classes lead by local industry leaders, and a menagerie of fiber animals! You might even meet Humphrey the Camel! Read the full interview below then mark your calendars for the Fiber Expo, April 8-9th 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Gus: Tell me about the history of the Fiber Expo?
Linda: Over ten years ago, Connie Hydel, took an early retirement from Ford when they were reducing the salaried workforce. Soon after, one of her friends asked her if she wanted to travel along with her delivering some alpacas out east. Connie thought for a moment, and said, “Well I don’t have to go to work, so why not?” There were many following trips to alpaca farms around the country, and opportunities for learning and meeting many people in the fiber industry. On one of the trips, Connie announced to her friend, “I’m going to start a fiber show!” So they discussed it for the rest of the trip, and the idea of Fiber Expo was born.
The first Fiber Expo was held October of 2007. It has been held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds since the inception of the show. After several successful years of the Fall Fiber Expo, it was decided to also offer a Spring Fiber Expo, which is now in its fifth year.
Fiber Expo has grown to be a twice-yearly inviting event, attended by families, and fiber enthusiasts from around the Michigan and the surrounding states. The Fiber Expo has an excellent line-up of classes, vendors, and fiber animal breeders that will appeal to people who come to visit, people who come to purchase and people who come to learn something new about the fiber arts.
Gus: Pretend you are talking to someone who has never been to your fiber festival, what would you highlight as your “WOW” attractions?
Linda: As you drive into the parking lot, you may wonder about the drab, aging, gray, steel fairground buildings ahead of you. Following the signs, you enter through the entrance door to Fiber Expo, to be greeted by a bustling community of people passionate about their love of the fiber arts. As you wander through the colorful rows of vendors, you will be delighted by the occasional animal booth, with the owners eager to talk to you about their prized alpacas, or angora rabbit breeders showing you how to pluck or shear the valuable fiber off the bunnies. Occasionally, Humphrey the camel has been in attendance as well. Yes, even camels produce a super soft fiber that makes beautiful yarn.
As you travel farther through the show, you will walk by people immersed in their classes, learning all sorts of fun fiber projects, and you say to yourself, “I want to try that next time.” Further into the aisleways, you will find a Make and Take project table. Stop for a few moments, and try your hand at needle felting a little project that you are welcome to take home with you. Allow time to visit with your favorite vendors, and get inspired for your next projects.
Gus: What are your biggest festival do’s and don’ts for enjoying your fiber festival?
Make sure you allow enough time to thoroughly see all of the show. Even if you go around the show 2 or 3 times, you will see new things each time.
Bring a friend.
Make sure to leave your email address so you can be informed of upcoming shows.
Don’t bring your husband or kids. Ha, Ha, just kidding, they might be happier at home watching sports. Kids are optional; many times they can be encouraged in the fiber arts.
Don’t miss any of the vendors in the back buildings, or in the back corners.
Don’t forget to put Fiber Expo on your calendar for next fall, October 21-22. 2017
Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
5055 Ann Arbor Saline Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
April 8 – 9, 2017
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm
$4 Admission – one day
$6 Admission – two days
(Children 12 & under free)
Yours in yarn,
-Gus C. Baxter
Now Get to Some Makin’!