Fiber Festivals: What Not to Miss at a Sheep and Wool Festival

Fiber enthusiasts look forward to sheep and wool festivals every year! Some even travel across the country to attend the larger festivals. Fiber festivals have more to offer than just the vendors market. Had enough shopping? There is plenty to see and do! From the animal and handspun judging to exploring the surrounding area, here’s what not to miss.

Meet-ups with fiber friends & acquaintances

Ravelry can be a great way to find group gatherings, but informal gatherings happen all over. Reach out to knitting and spinning friends and make a plan to get together, even just to admire each other’s purchases.

Food vendors

If you’re up for lamb, this may be the best you ever taste. At fall festivals, an apple cider donut with a cup of coffee in the afternoon can be the perfect pick-me-up.

Fleece judging

Even if you don’t plan to buy a fleece, watching an experienced judge will teach you a lot about fiber. You may be surprised how certain fleeces score.

A skilled judge can tell you a lot about a fleece. Photo by George Boe.

A skilled judge can tell you a lot about a fleece. Photo by George Boe.

Sheepdog demonstrations

The independence, obedience, instinct, and just plain brains on display as the dogs move groups of sheep are amazing to watch. It is very important, however, not to give in to the urge to take one home.

Equipment makers

You may never see as many brands of spinning wheels, spindles, and other equipment in one place as at a fiber festival. Now is your chance to try out a variety of tools and see which ones you like.

Talk to vendors

Vendors come to wool festivals from all over the country, some from around the world. If they’re not too busy, ask where they are from and about the story behind their fiber business. You never know where a new friend or a better appreciation for the products you’re buying will come from.

The town

Fiber festivals are often held in interesting, quirky places, and the towns around the fiber festivals may have as much to offer as the festival itself. Local (occasionally historic) restaurants, taverns, shops, hotels, inns, and so much more are waiting outside the gates of the fairgrounds.

Enjoy the festival!

Featured Image by Laurel Johnson.

Find a list of festivals in the United States and Canada at

Find related Interweave posts on upcoming festivals here:
OK Fiber Fest!
Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Minnesota Knitter’s Guild Yarnover
Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta
Ann Arbor’s Fiber Expo
Welcome to the Long Island Yarn Crawl
The Smokey Mountain Fiber Arts Fair
The Yarn Show: Chicago YarnCon
Behold the Yarn Crawl: Dos and Don’ts

Expert advice from Spin Off!