After realizing I have more I want to talk about than what can fit in to an email newsletter, I’ve decided to occasionally blog! Here you’ll find reviews of fiber events, fiber news, farmer spotlights, and thoughts on running a fiber business.
This past weekend my husband Rob and I visited the Fiber Frolic in Maine. It was our first time both visiting the state and the festival. Overall, I really enjoyed the festival and am going to break down my experience into a few categories: Atmosphere, Lodging, Vendors, and Food. There were no classes offered, but they had quite a few demonstrations and talks both Saturday and Sunday. I’ll definitely go back next year, and may even vend myself.
The festival takes place at the Windsor Fair Grounds and has a typical set-up where you park in the grass and vendors are either in a barn or outside. The weather was good for us, but I can see the grounds becoming muddy after a rain, so appropriate shoes may need to be considered. There was enough inside space, where if it was particularly hot, windy, or rainy, there would be enough places to sit and stroll the vendor booths.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the show! It was very relaxed and family friendly. There was a marionette show, which was entertaining, music later in the day, and sheep herding demos. I had visited Rhinebeck last fall and it was so overwhelming and crowded it wasn’t really enjoyable. The Fiber Frolic is totally different, still busy, but there was plenty of space to sit, browse, and learn.
We stayed at Hampton Inn in Augusta, ME, which was about a 25 min drive to the fairgrounds. There are other hotel options in Augusta and a few bed and breakfasts closer to the festival, but I found options to be a little expensive for the standard hotel. If you have a tent or camper, there was the option to stay at the fairground itself, which a few people had done based on the campers we saw. Overall, lodging wasn’t the best I’ve experienced, and I didn’t feel like there was a ton to see or do nearby.
My vendor review will be biased as I tend to prefer artists who use their own sheep, USA milled yarns, and carry blends other than Merino. Being a spinner, knitter, and weaver, I like to see good diversity in fiber arts represented. I’ve both vended and visited shows in the Midwest, Southwest, and now New England. With that in mind, the vendors were AWESOME!
Overall, there were about 100 vendors including farms, woodworkers, fiber artists, potters, and more. It might have been my perfect blend of vendors! Usually there are too many dyers who focus on Merino yarn that’s been imported from China, which isn’t my thing (there were some vendors dyeing on those bases), but there were many others who used unique bases. Some examples include Maddfuzzy who uses Maine grown Fresian sheep for a sock blend that’s then milled in Maine and The Wheel and the Anvil who uses her own Shetland fleeces to incorporate into batts and rolags. I also picked up some very cute stitch markers from Wee Ones, which are handmade using polymer clay.
An interesting part of the show was the Bunny Barn. The Maine Angora Producers were there to educate show attendees on everything Angora! There were many vendors there selling and showing their rabbits. I hadn’t seen an entire area dedicated to Angoras at any other fiber show I’ve been to, so it was a welcome addition to the usual gang of critters.
There were a handful of food vendors at the Fiber Frolic including ice cream, lemonade and smoothies, fish and chips, and wood fired pizza. Being gluten free, my review of food will always be skewed towards what I can actually eat at a show. That being said, the food options were impressive for the show being located in such a quaint area. I personally didn’t attempt to eat any of the food at the show, and would recommend anyone with an allergy packing a lunch. There were plenty of picnic tables to eat at, no matter whether you purchased your food or packed a lunch.