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A cold drizzle misted my windshield as I drove to the fairgrounds last weekend for the Vermont Sheep Festival. I wondered who would venture out on such a cold and wet day to attend a festival which required walking muddy fairgrounds from building to building. The previous day, I had packed all of my yarn and knitted samples into the back of my van and headed over to get my 10 foot by 10 foot booth set up. I tired not to feel intimidated as I looked at the back of my van …

 and then the empty space which I had to fill.

 Somehow, I had to transform this space into a yarn shop which characterized our farm and highlighted our products inviting the festival goer to enter. The vendors around me seemed to have a good handle on their booths as they had already begun to fill them with colorful yarn. First, I arranged the tables….

Then, began to unload and empty the many boxes which filled my van….

I had decided to focus upon the lovely natural colors of our yarn. I resisted the temptation to dye any yarn to bring along this year as I am finding much pleasure in the warm browns, creams, and lovely soft grays of our yarn. The next step was to add some color to our booth by hanging the needle felted murals that our summer camp children have made over the years.

The goal of the murals was to pull people in to the booth. Once there, they would begin to look around them at the yarn on the tables. I placed a small sign at the end of the table near the aisle which read, “Yarn Tasting”. In front of each basket of yarn, I put a small ball of the yarn cast on to knitting needles with a sample knit.

At last, the booth was ready and I had gone home to tend to our Bed & Breakfast guest who would be arriving soon.

As I pulled into the fairgrounds on Saturday morning, I wondered what the weekend would be like. Would people come out to the festival? The weather man had predicted cold rain all weekend. Within about 15 minutes of opening the festival on Saturday, the buildings began to fill with people. I noticed a cheery mood among the fiber folks who attended. Groups of women and men gathered in the aisles of the vendor hall talking and laughing. They carried bags and totes which they filled with fiber, yarn, and amazing trinkets and hand woven items. In my booth, I felt that people were looking to support the small Vermont family farms. There was much interest in what we do on our farm and our yarn. I found that people could not resist picking up the knitting needles and adding a few rows to each sample. One woman laughed when she saw the “Yarn Tasting” sign and joined in the fun of knitting!

I sold several yarn CSA shares over the weekend to individuals who wanted to invest in our farm and join us in our efforts. A few people inquired about our summer camps and fiber classes and a woman who runs summer camps in the neighboring town talked of collaborating next summer to expand both of our camp offerings.

The entire weekend proved to be busy with many people attending the festival and stopping to talk with us. I should have known that a little drizzle would not keep fiber folks away from a festival which promoted Vermont’s agricultural roots!

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One Response

  1. Wendy
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    Once upon a time I lived in MA and had a Grandma in Northfield Falls VT. I would drive up to VT Sheep and Wool Fest. Now it’s SO FAR AWAY both geographically and pychologically, and I am glad to have your CSA to spin and knit away with, THANKS!

    Wendy in South Carolina