Going to Festivals

Are you marking your calendar for upcoming festivals? The Spinning and Weaving Association has a great list of spinning and weaving events. What's your favorite fiber festival? I missed going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year (I hear it was great), but I'm looking forward to attending the Estes Park Wool Market, just up the road from us in Estes Park, Colorado, in mid-June. And then the next week I'll hop on a plane to go to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon-it'll be my first time attending this event.

Like the faithful Girl Scout that I am, I like to be prepared. My family teases me that I take too much stuff, but then when they need something, I'm always the first person they ask.

Here's my list of items of what to bring to an outdoor fiber festival that I've culled from my personal experience and from reading forums on spinningdaily.com and ravelry.com on the topic.

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain coat or lightweight jacket*
  • Tote bags for purchases (try to avoid backpacks as they can be cumbersome in booths with tight space)
  • Snacks (granola bars, dried fruit and nuts)
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Address labels (for efficient signing up for mailing lists you want to be on)
  • Money (checks, cash, and debit/credit cards-also decide on your budget before you go and stick to it)
  • Walking shoes (consider that you'll be walking through mud among other things, perhaps open-toe sandals aren't the best option)

If you're traveling with children, look up the festival guidelines on the website-they may have recommendations on strollers.

Don't take your dog-many festivals prohibit dogs because of the danger they pose to the livestock.

Optional fiber tools if you have room:

  • Small, portable spindle for trying out fibers (See Amelia Garripoli's article in the Spring 2010 issue for a great rundown on matching spindles to fiber types)
  • Measuring tape
  • Wraps-per-inch gauge
  • Scissors

Is there anything essential that I've forgotten? Tell me about it in the comments.

*Instead of a light jacket, consider a sari-like wrap. I have a large silk wrap, the size of a beach towel, that is very versatile for outdoor days when the weather is variable; it provides warmth and protection from wind or sun, can be used as a picnic blanket, but when it isn't needed it can be folded up into a small square and tucked away-very handy.


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