Monday, May 08, 2006

Sheep & Wool Festival Report

I'm still exhausted, and I'd rather be playing with my new fiber, but here's a brief recap:

The early bus left on time! (Plus or minus about 3 minutes, which I think is pretty good.)

The late bus left on time!

We did guess right about when the traffic gets bad: although the early bus left only 30 minutes earlier than the late bus, it arrived on the fairgrounds an hour earlier. (Note to self: 7 a.m. departure next year?)

I can't tell you about the melee at the Koigu booth, because I avoided it. Instead, my first stop was to visit our newest colleague, Anna:

She spent the weekend at the Kiparoo Farm booth, because that's what she's always done. She said that people started coming into their booth at 8:10 in the morning--despite the fact that the show didn't open until 9.

Then I headed up the hill to buy a t-shirt for Suzanne. (In a ridiculous coincidence of childcare snafus, involving both a cardiac catheterization procedure and a performance of Lohengrin, Suze wound up staying home on Saturday. Her only request was that I get a t-shirt, since they'd likely be sold out by Sunday morning. As, in fact, they were.) The line for t-shirts and other Festival-logo merchandise was long:

I spent about 45 minutes in it.

Then came the shopping. I bought only two skeins of yarn for myself--more Brooks Farm mohair--and a couple skeins for friends who couldn't make it this year. The rest was all spinning fiber.

I'm not going to show you any more pictures, though, because what struck me this year wasn't the stuff I saw, but what I heard at the Festival:

--Music: harp, banjo, hammered dulcimer, bagpipe, country ensemble with fiddle, recorder.

--Cell phones: I predict that, within three years, no one will be allowed onto the fairgrounds without one. Favorite overheard line: "Can you see me now? I'm the one waving."

--Other bits of conversation: ". . . he's still finishing up his last exam." "Every year, I find you on this same bench." ". . . world-class working dog just herded your wife . . . " "See, honey? He likes me. Now we have to take him home" [said by a guy holding a lamb while his wife shopped for yarn].

--The PA announcer. People who'd left dogs in their cars (don't get me started), people who'd left credit cards at booths, the beginning of various events. And then best of all . . .

--The huge collective sigh of relief, accompanied by clapping and some cheers, that rose from all sides when they announced that the "lost" 4-year old boy they'd been talking about for the previous ten minutes was, in fact, with his mother at the car. ("Security, if you've still got Dad, please bring him back to the information tent.") I always feel like the Festival is about the safest place I ever am in the course of the whole year, but for a few minutes there, it felt like part of the real world.

--And over it all, of course, the incessant baa-ing, near and far.

A lot of this is wasted on the knitters, who seem to go deaf shortly after arrival. My personal theory is that we're so incredibly focused on what we're seeing, and, to a lesser extent, on what we're touching, that there's just no attention left for hearing. But haven't you noticed that you can call someone's name, even when they're only 8 feet from you and there's no one in between, and they'll just completely walk by you? You have to reach out a hand and grab them to get their attention.

So that's my report. We got home on time, and no one was left on the fairground. There is, however, a double-pointed needle, US #7, that was found on the early bus after everyone debarked. If it's yours, please come to the shop and claim it.

Same time next year!

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