Story and Photos by Jordan Reining | Contributing Writer
The 12th annual ‘Fiber in the Boro’ festival was held at the Lane-Agri Park Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The fiber festival had a range of vendors housed around the building selling fiber, yarn, books and other handmade items. Demonstrations were held at certain booths showing guests the process of a specific craft such as weaving or machine knitting.
Those in attendance were able to submit a ticket for the chance to win a door prize of their choice donated by a range of vendors.
Some vendors, such as the ‘Haus of Yarn’, located in Nashville or the ‘Traveling Yarn Yogi’ source their yarn and fiber from other brands or small businesses, whereas those like Bill and Ruth of Hickory Bluff Farms process their own fibers and yarns.
Bill and Ruth Fuqua entered the fiber community after getting alpacas to fill up the land they had. They currently have over 30 alpacas, but at their peak owned over 80.
“I had a lot of alpaca yarn; this is my 20th year. I started when it was in Cannonsburgh Village and did that every year and the last 12, I’ve done this one,” said Ruth.
They process the wool and sell it at festivals or at their farm, but also sell handmade products like scarves and hats.
Angie Reach, the owner of the ‘Traveling Yarn Yogi’ owns a mobile yarn van that travels to festivals and parking lots. Reach also does Yarn parties, where she can take the van, named purl, to a house or event.
She has been in the fiber community as a knitter for over 20 years but is new to the community as a vendor. This is her fourth year with the van.
“I wanted to travel and not have to go to one place, I can make my own hours and do that type of thing- go to places where nobody has a yarn shop,” said Reach.
Reach learned how to knit in fifth grade during an art class and has stuck with it ever since. Recently, she has helped more young adults get involved with the craft.
“Gotta keep the project going,” said Reach, “It’s something that will be with you for the rest of your life.”
The Baker family of Springrock Farm were there as vendors selling wool and roving. Sisters Eliza and Daisy, along with their father Paul were at the festival.
They own Jacob Sheep and sell wool and skins to the fiber community. Unlike many vendors there, the Baker family strictly acts as a source of material. They don’t partake in the craft themselves but are happy to provide material for those that do.
“We have, my mom, put a lot of time into making some stuff that’s truly high quality,” said Daisy.
Their mom was not in attendance but played a large role in the success of their sheep.
“I love being able to provide people with that,” said Daisy, “Because they can then take that and make gorgeous things with (it) that are beautiful and to be able to give them that experience is fun.”
Throughout the day, many people passed on the rumor that this would be the last year of ‘Fiber in the Boro’.
One of the original founders confirmed this. Darlene Dralus, someone vital to the creation of the festival, was joined by three others that had the idea of hosting one in the early 2010’s.
Together, they planned and organized the event each year, but ultimately decided this would be the last time they would take part in it.
“We all have our full-time jobs and we’ve been doing this strictly on a volunteer basis and we’re kind of ready to take a break from it,” said Dralus.
The first festival housed around 40 vendors with roughly 500 people attending. Over the years it has grown to over 70 vendors with over one thousand people attending.
The festival has been consistent, with the only break being due to the pandemic.
“It’s not a big festival but people seem to really love it,” Dralus said, “I like to think of it as small but mighty.”
Although this festival was the last scheduled one, there is the possibility of it coming back someday with a new group of people stepping up to host it.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email email@example.com.
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