Over the years, we have been vendors at many fiber festivals in quite a few states - at least 4 different locations in Texas as well as locations in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida. And we have attended fiber festivals in Colorado, Oregon and Maryland. Each one is very different but they are all amazingly similar.
While I was up in Maine earlier this month, I was fortunate to be able to attend the 19th Annual Maine Fiber Frolic at the Windsor Fairgrounds in Windsor, ME. This fiber festival feels more casual and more spread out and therefore smaller than many of our fiber festivals but there were nearly 100 vendors listed on their website www.fiberfrolic.com so it wasn't really small at all. This is a much lower number of vendors, however, than the 46th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this past spring that lists some 295 vendors on their website. It's amazing what an additional 27 years of work can do for a fiber festival.
The differences you commonly see include the individual vendors, size of the venue, animals may be shown or not, all the vendors might be indoors or outside or a combination of both, the show may be 1 day or two or three days long. At Maryland, as in Maine, people are given places to sit outside but most seem to gravitate to sitting on the ground in the shade under large trees. At the Houston show, which is indoors, tables and chairs are gratefully provided in the air conditioned hall.
But the tenor, the flavor and the feeling of all these shows are amazingly similar. People selling hand dyed yarn or fiber are the same. They are all excited about what they have created and interested in sharing it with everyone. Everyone wants to show off their hand spun or hand knitted creations and we all "Ooo" and "Ahh" appropriately. We all know the knitter's greeting - Can I look at your shawl? We all want to touch and fondle the fiber, the yarn, the shawl and the scarf.
Having been at the Maine Fiber Frolic before, I looked for several vendors that I couldn't find this year. The lady with the hand blown glass stitch markers wasn't there. And I couldn't find the lady with the wonderful handspun yarn she dyed with natural dyes. Of course, they may have been there and I just couldn't find them. All in all it was a wonderful day in the cool sunshine with great people and great fiber related products.