It’s almost the third full weekend of October which means the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival up near Rhinebeck, NY. This year’s show is October 21 and 22, 2017 and features new hours, Saturday 9a to 5pm and Sunday 9a to 4pm!
Sheep and wool festivals are fun for the entire family but can definitely be overwhelming the first time (and ever after). There are several parts to the festivals, official and unofficial. There are meet-ups of friends, vendors to check out, animals to ador, fabulous food, and of course fun.
Tips and advice for your first fiber festival
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking. There are a few small hills at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds (disclaimer: I’m a runner). The ground is mostly smooth but there are a few parts that might be considered uneven terrain. If it rained recently there could be mud.
- Before you go, take time to look at the map, vendor list, and show schedule. Make a wish list and a budget. But allow for fun too! (aka reasonable impulse purchases.)
- Be prepared NOT to wear that wonderful Rhinebeck sweater you just finished. It could be 80°F in mid-October. Or it could snow. Wear layers.
Alternatively, be prepared to finish a pair of super bulky mittens on the drive up and wear them along with everything else wool that you own because it’s cold as f*ck (or you have constantly cold hands like me). Wear layers.
Current forecast (as of 9pm Tuesday 17 October) Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 70. Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. Those are not typos!
Frustrated not to be able to show off your new sweater? Turn the AC back on and take part in the #virtualrhinebecksweaterparade!
(With that forecast I’m ignoring all sweaters and accessories and will continue knitting on my Euroflax swatch.)
- Take a break from the selling hustle and watch the sheep dog trials.
- The llama parade and the leaping llamas contest are also quite fun.
- Make sure to take note of the yarns and pattern of anything you’ve made that you’re wearing. You will be asked. Often. Then asked where to find the yarn at the show. Expect to be petted.
- Be prepared for an emotional release as you return home and definitely the next day.
Looking for more Festival attending advice?
A comprehensive list of Fiber Events is available at Knitter’s Review.
Note: some photos are from Maryland Sheep & Wool.
This post was originally published on October 3, 2014 and has been updated for 2017.