May 30, 2010

Animals, programs abound at Maine Fiber Frolic


Fiber enthusiasts take note: The Maine Fiber Frolic is scheduled for next weekend at the Windsor Fairgrounds, and you won’t want to miss this roundup of everything sheep, alpacas, llamas and rabbits.

Al Maloney, the event’s finance director, explains what makes this event unique for those interested in any aspect of fiber arts in Maine — from beginner knitters to old-pro spinners.

“You cannot only get what you need (fiber and equipment); you can talk to someone who can tell you how to actually do it. You can’t get that on eBay,” Maloney said.

With 90 vendors expected — who will be selling yarn, roving, knitting, spinning wheels and offering everything else you’d ever need related to fiber or the animals that produce it — this is an event for every level of fiber enthusiast. As for whole fleeces, there will be at least 300 sheep and alpaca fleeces for sale as well.

There also will be a variety of animals on display, including alpacas, llamas, cashmere goats, at least 10 different sheep breeds and Angora rabbits. The llamas and alpacas will offer some additional entertainment by participating in the “Llama ’Lympics” obstacle course during the weekend.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Fiber Frolic is happy to announce a new addition to the event — the rabbit fiber area. There will be a special series of programs specifically featuring Angora rabbits to make it a special experience for those interested in that type of fiber.

There also will be a variety of free talks and demonstrations about animal husbandry, feeding and nutrition of fiber-bearing animals and lots of information for people just getting started. Veterinarians will be on hand to talk about the health of the animals as well.

For a fee, attendees can participate in specialized workshops on subjects such as primitive rug hooking and needle felting. Pre-registration is required.

David Kennard of Wellscroft Farm in Chesham, N.H., will present several sheepdog herding demonstrations. This program will explain how the dogs work with the sheep and demonstrate the team effort needed between the farmer and his herd dogs.

“It’s amazing what he does with these animals,” Maloney said of the sheepdog demonstrations planned for Saturday and Sunday.

This family-friendly event also features a children’s craft area to keep the under-10 crowd busy with a variety of activities of their own — that is, if you can drag them away from the animals and demonstrations.

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