It’s properly Spring which means one thing for fiber artists – fiber festivals! I’ve provided a couple tips and suggestions for attending and getting the most out of a fiber festival. In the two and a half years I’ve been spinning I’ve been to about six festivals (excluding Stitches one year since that’s not really a “fiber” event).
1. Finding a Fiber Festival – If you belong to a spinning group or guild, this is probably the best way to learn about local-ish fiber events, including specifics about the events (best day to go, classes, etc.). If you belong to a regional or state group on Ravelry (i.e. Indianapolis Handspinners) they will also frequently post about area festivals. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to search on Ravelry or even just Google. Keep in mind “local” may be relative. We are lucky here in central Indiana to have two area fiber festivals (each is about an hour from my house). However, I have driven anywhere from 2-3 hours from home to go to festivals. If you can get a group together to go, all the better.
2. Do Some Homework – Before making too many decisions, find a website for the fiber festivals. Most festivals have one with hours, directions, workshop schedules, competitions and lists of vendors. This will give you some idea of the size of the festival and how much time you might want to spend there.
3. Sign Up for a Workshop – if the festival is of a decent size I can’t recommend enough that you take a class. The past two years I’ve taken one class a year, this year I will likely take two. This is a great opportunity to learn a new fiber prep, a new drafting technique or even a more advanced skill. I find it is even beneficial just to hear someone else’s viewpoint on how to do something.
4. Take Care of Travel Plans and Reservations – Go ahead and register for any classes or workshops, book a hotel room if you need to and make any other needed arrangements. Fiber festivals tend to be in remote areas and therefore lodging options are limited. At well known events the classes fill up quickly.
I’ll talk more later about some suggestions of things to do shortly before you leave for the fiber festival, including evaluating your stash, setting a budget and what to pack.