Wool production in New York State in 2010 was 245,000 pounds, according to the U.S. Agriculture statistics Service. Add to that fiber from alpacas, llamas, rabbits, goats, and exotic animals such as camels, buffalo, and yak, and you have a LOT of yarn!!
There seems to have been an explosion of knitters, spinners, weavers, felters and other practitioners of the fiber arts in recent years. Guilds are springing up in every part of the country. Getting fiber from local farm to local artist can sometimes be tricky, however.
Enter the CNY Fiber Artists and Producers, and the annual fiber fair they host in Bouckville, NY.
The fair had humble beginnings, held for two years in conjunction with the Madison County Fair, with a handful of fiber vendors. It became obvious early on that a larger site was needed, according to organizer Pamela Haendle.
“Our hope was to showcase fiber animals and the products that can be produced from them,” said Pam. “We saw a need for a local festival that would highlight the many fiber producers in our area, and connect their products with local fiber enthusiasts.”
Pam obviously had the right idea. The first year at the site in Bouckville, over 45 vendors sold a variety of fiber, fiber-related, and farm products to over 600 attendees, in spite of a rainy weekend. There were workshops offered, and well as food, and children’s activities. Animals, including sheep, alpacas, goats, llamas, and rabbits were on display.
This year’s festival will be held on June 9 and 10, at the Butternut Campground on Route 20 in Bouckville. Workshops will again be offered, as will children’s activities, and maybe a few new surprises.
“We hope to grow every year, but don’t want to lose our hometown feel,” says Pam. “If we can educate the general public about our animals, and provide an enjoyable afternoon for people interested in the fiber arts and local farm producers, we will achieve our goal.”
Visit the group’s website at www.cnyfiber.org
for more information on the organization and this year’s festival.