Tips and Fun from Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2016By Candace – Be the first to comment
Who loves fiber festivals? I do! And if you haven’t been to one yet, I wholeheartedly recommend looking up ones near you and going. This year, I was fortunate to be able to make it down to Maryland for the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and between festival itself and time I got to spend with friends, I had a ball! As with any event, it’s more fun when you keep some things in mind.
Like any other fairground event, MDSW entails lots of walking. The walk from the parking area to the gate can be very long, so even for that first part, you want to be comfortable. One thing I’m grateful I did was travel with several pairs of shoes in my car. It had been rainy on the east coast for a while before the festival, so I brought my rain boots. I knew they weren’t the most comfortable to walk in, so I bought insoles–only to find that they made everything worse. I ended up making a painful trip back to the car for sneakers. The lesson here: always have options!
If you’re going with or meeting friends, it’s great to have an idea of where everyone’s going and what everyone’s doing. My group used an app to group chat so we didn’t have a bunch of errant text messages. One caveat: if your phone has a tendency to be unresponsive, you still want to check it regularly in case you miss alerts. Troubles aside, it was great to see some people I hadn’t seen for years and to meet some others for the first time.
Festival food is great, but it isn’t always the healthiest. If you’re watching what you eat or corn dogs, lamb sausage, and red velvet funnel cake just aren’t your cup of tea, consider packing a lunch. Personally, I wish I’d asked someone where to get the aforementioned funnel cake when I saw it.
It’s great to have a shopping plan and budget. My plan was to focus more on getting laceweight and fingering weight yarn. But be aware that sometimes things you weren’t planning to get might just call out for you. That’s where keeping some extra room in your budget comes in handy. I told myself I wouldn’t buy spinning fiber. Guess how that turned out.
Keep receipts and business cards! The vendors generally work all year round, so you can use their contact information to make more orders and support them throughout the year if you like their products.
That last piece of advice leads me to a piece of advice it’s unfortunate I have to give: Be careful and aware of your surroundings. While looking at a vendor’s website, I learned he’d been robbed after the festival. It’s an unfortunate thing that happens when people are walking around with money, so even when you’re in the grounds having fun, be mindful.
That said, the best tip I can give you is to have fun! Look at and touch (with clean hands, of course!) all the pretty yarn. Admire the samples (though I wish there were more crochet samples alongside the knit ones). Watch some demonstrations (the sheep dogs are popular). Participate in a workshop. Meet some sheep. Buy something nice for yourself.
Did you go to MDSW this year? Do you go to any other fiber festivals? What’s your favorite part?