Fiber Festival Roundup
YOU CAN MEET YOUR MAKER—or at least your yarn’s maker—when you shop at wool and fiber festivals. A bit like a cross between a county fair and your favorite local yarn shop, a fiber festival features fiber animals, spinning and weaving contests, juried exhibits, demonstrations, classes, food, and, of course, plenty of opportunities to buy fiber in all its forms directly from local ranchers and spinners. Each fiber festival has something to make it unique, such as sheepdog demonstrations, live music, folk dancing, and sheep parades, but they all provide weavers, spinners, and other fiber enthusiasts a chance to meet the folks—and animals—who produce their fleeces, roving, and yarns. Most fiber festivals take place yearly in the United States from May through October. Here’s a short roundup of four upcoming fiber festivals happening in different parts of the U.S.
1. Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival
Jefferson County Fair Park
September 7–9, 2018
Unlike the other fiber festivals in this roundup, the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival specifically focuses on sheep. Many of the events and competitions are designed for local shepherds, including an equipment auction, stock dog trials, sheep shows, and livestock sales. For those interested in sheep products, the festival has plenty of vendors, classes, fiber art demonstrations, and competitions for spinners, knitters, and photographers.
2. Salida Fiber Festival
September 8–9, 2018
Founded in 2012, the Salida Fiber Festival has much to offer. Located near the Arkansas River, the festival boasts 70 vendors, an activity tent with make-and-take crafts for all ages, a pop-up fashion show, and a beer garden featuring local microbrews, wines, and other beverages. There is also a fiber art exhibition open to vendors and artists who reside within 50 miles of Salida. Visitors can take advantage of the local hot springs as well as hiking, rafting, kayaking, and other outdoor activities when not at the fiber festival.
3. Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival
Clarke County Ruritan Fair Grounds
September 29–30, 2018
Taking place in the small, charming town of Berryville, Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival features over 100 vendors—including a local winery—as well as a wide variety of fiber-bearing animals on display, sheepdog demonstrations, classes, spinning and knitting competitions, and the official Virginia Make It With Wool competition and fashion show. Part of the proceeds from the festival goes to support local schools and other organizations, including Berryville’s volunteer fire and rescue company, Project Linus, school arts programs, and local chapters of 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
4. Taos Wool Festival
Kit Carson Park
Taos, New Mexico
October 6–7, 2018
Held in the artsy mountain town of Taos, New Mexico, the Taos Wool Festival celebrates the fiber animals, ranchers, and fi ber artisans and artists of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Highlights of the two-day festival include the Critter Corner, where festival-goers can meet sheep, alpacas, rabbits, and other fiber-bearing animals; demonstrations; a fiber arts marketplace; and fun competitions where participants can enter fleeces, handspun yarns, and hand-dyed fibers. The festival also features several contests in which spinners, crocheters, and knitters race against each other—sometimes blindfolded—to see who can create the most yarn or cloth the fastest.
Featured Image: Fiber festivals offer the opportunity to explore different yarns including beautiful, natural wools like the ones shown here from the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. PHOTO BY JEFF LEGASSE