AmericanFarm.com

Festival promotes fiber industry in Frederick

By CARYL VELISEK
Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. (June 20, 2017) — The Frederick News-Post held its second Fiber Fest as a two-day event on June 10-11, at the newspaper grounds on Ballenger Center Drive.
Last year the first Fiber Fest, just a single day, had an estimated 700 people in attendance.
This year the event attracted more than 65 vendors to sell their fiber products or to demonstrate the processes used in making fiber products, with an estimated 1,393 attending the two day event.”
The free event showcased a little known industry of fiber arts in the Frederick area with educational displays including animals and fiber products. It features local yarn dyers and spinners and other related crafts, and offers an opportunity to not only see and purchase what the industry has to offer, but to also watch shearers and spinners in action.
La Rena Eldredge made the 115 mile trip to Fiber Fest from Preston, Md., because, she said, her family recently bought seven sheep for their farm and they wanted to get some ideas on how to market them.
Her three children were fascinated with the three alpacas that were on display at the festival, and spent nearly half and hour feeding and petting the alpacas, Eldredge added.
Eldridge also noted that she enjoyed the festival because it was smaller than similar events and she could more easily watch how people do things and learn from them. Many local and area producers demonstrated their particular expertise, including sheep shearer, Emily Chamelin Hickman, who sheared her sheep while children and adults watched and then allowed the children to pet the sheep and feel the wool.
Another new activity this year that attracted many onlookers, was the making of fleece to scarf competition by teams led by Patty Sanville and Mary Singleton.
Sanville’s team won with team members  Rhiannon Huscha, Brianna Ryland, Jan Flynn and Emily Flynn.
The scarves were auctioned off after the judging with the money donated to the Frederick County 4-H Camp and Activities Center. A fleece sale was another addition this year.
There were many other displays that attracted the visitors including Greenbridge Pottery of Dayton, Md., that was selling ceramic tea bag holders and coffee cups.
David Manos of Harford County had a booth with shawl pins and wooden buttons.
“My wife had asked me to make a shawl pin for her and I found they were popular with the people at wool shows,” he said.
Sunday’s activities included a drop spindle spinning class, an art yarn spinning class and a question-and answer-session with Sam Barsky, who earned Internet celebrity status for his knitted sweaters of iconic landmarks.