I've been wanting to attend the NY Sheep & Wool Festival since the first time I heard about it, at least 15 years ago. I finally went!!
Last Saturday, we drove to Rhinebeck, NY, where the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are. It was a perfect day, with sun and clouds and breezes with occasional gusts of wind. The tree colors were just past peak, but beautiful, just the same. From our apartment, including a small detour locally, and the traffic within a 10 - 12 mile radius of the venue reminiscent of Woodstock, it took over 2 hours. It should have taken about one and a half. We were directed to a particular parking area that was a long walk to the entry gate because the 2 closer lots were full. I believe the festival opened at t 10:00 and we arrived after 12:00.
I don't know what the attendance was on Saturday, but it was a big number. The crowds made it more interesting and exciting. Many people sported woven, crocheted or knitted garments and/or accessories. There were sweaters, shawls, scarves, hats, vests, headbands, bracelets, bags, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, fingerless mitts, wristers, arm warmers, tights, socks, flower brooches and amigarumi pinned to everything you can think of. I saw loads of Ravelry buttons, too.
I wore mine on my Kate's Shawl.
I had hoped to arrive in time to go to the Ravelry meetup. I couldn't find it! I asked several people in what I thought was close proximity to the meetup, but none of them knew what I was talking about.
Of course, I didn't find the fair grounds' info booth until much later in the day. I also couldn't find a few vendors I met at the Northern NJ Fiber Arts Festival, a few weeks ago. Part of why I couldn't find them is that I was at the fair with 2 non-fiber artist men. (My husband, "E-Rex" and his good bud, Jerry.) Need I say more? They thought walking through a vendor building meant, literally, walking through it. Although the festival was huge, at the rate they were walking, not looking at anything other than food at the various food stands, the whole thing could have been, literally, seen in, literally, an hour and a half. Ugh! So, I couldn't really take my time, schmooze, touch yarn, think about what that oh-so-touchable skein could make or make some part of, or do anything else I would have customarily done, were I rolling with some fellow crafters. Note to self: next year, find some yarnies with whom to go.
There were numerous food vendors, some sellers of soaps, lotions, wood accessories and kitchenware, bags, books and wine, but by far, the very best of the festival was its fibers and yarns.
There was a Peruvian band playing Andean folk music, which did wonders to relieve attendees of thinking about any budget they might have made for themselves. The airy, almost mystical sounds were soothing, affirming and maybe even a little hypnotic.
Even the guys enjoyed the demonstration by a shepherdess and her sheep dogs herding 3 sheep who tolerated the various dogs' performances. All the dogs looked liked they loved working. None of the sheep were frightened, they just allowed themselves to be herded where ever the shepherdess desired. It was wonderful to watch.
There were exotic and ordinary breeds of sheep, goats, bunnies, llama and alpaca to see, pet and at certain times, see shorn.
It was over too soon and I'm already waiting for next year. It was the best kind of sensory overload. I will round up some friends who will want to be there at opening, and who will either want to go through together, slowly, or split up and plan to meet at an appointed time for lunch, split up again and meet at an appointed time to leave.
Only 360-something days to go.