Jim and I packed up his van on Tuesday, dragged ourselves out of bed on Wednesday to do chores before it was light and headed south at 6am. Troy is only 57 miles away so the trip is easy, especially with a stop at Dunkin' Donuts in Elmira for sustenance. Arriving so early meant we could set up at a decent pace instead of a major rush as has been in the past. Even though the fair did not open officially until 9, we had customers at 8:30. Early customers always rattle me. I like to have everything set up, give it all a once over, adjust a few things and then devote myself to the customers and the day. Starting early, while excellent in most ways, doesn't allow for that once over. I got over it.
Even with temps in the 90's, the day is so relaxing and laid back (there's almost always a breeze coming through the barn). Folks are in great moods, spinning on wheels and spindles, visiting with each other, getting fresh peach cobbler or apple turnovers, lemonade and new fiber to spin. Kids from local camps come through as well as whole families. The organizer, Eve, told me that Wednesday is the best attended day of the fair and, even though it is also bull riding day, WE make the difference in gate attendance. Spinners ROCK! The Fair is so grateful they give us the arena for free, so the vendors are not charged either. However we do donate the prizes for the contests.
Besides vending there are several contests.
There are also spinning wheel contests, plus skeins of hand spun entered, finished objects and something I have only seen at Fiber Fairs - a basket containing hand spun yarn, sometimes fiber too, plus the beginning of a knitted or crocheted object and the pattern.
Sharon G won for her basket this year. She really beat out the competition by felting her own basket using some of the fiber included in it. On the right is Ellie, one of the judges, awarding her a Spinning Bunny knitting kit.
For 3 hours starting a bit after noon 3 teams competed in a sheep to shawl contest.
Each year, our arena is right next to the one housing the jersey cows. I think we perform an amusement service for them. The girls are on a short rope getting to go next to nowhere all day, except when being shaved, or milked. When we were leaving this one looked so forlorn.
Sharon and Michelle won the two Best in Show prizes.
Sharon for her basket of goodies and Michelle for her hand spun hand knit Orenburg lace shawl. Look for more details about this shawl in my next newsletter.
And the Best in Show for youth was Paige with her Brown Swiss Miss.
We celebrated the day, halfway home in Horseheads, at Red Lobster, which has become our annual after festival treat.