(Feb. 20, 2015) Ocean City’s second annual Fiber Fest has expanded its selection and will take place this weekend, Feb. 20-22, at the Grand Hotel and Spa on 21st Street.
The fiber-filled weekend will feature 38 vendors who promote fibers whether it be wool, fabric, wood, reed, yarn or many others through their products.
Participants will educate others on the natural fiber industry with classes taught by artists, and there will be demonstrations on how their products are made, in addition to providing a shopping experience for visitors.
“It’s a very exciting event. The vendors have high quality products and people like buying wool when it’s cold outside. The colder the better,” said Fiber Fest organizer, Susan Childs.
Twelve businesses attended the event in 2014—that number has more than doubled this year.
Local merchants from Delaware and Maryland will be in attendance, in addition to vendors representing six additional states along the coast including North Carolina, New York and Maine.
“It combines as a shopping and educational event for attendees. The vendors are eager to show what they do and want people to see how their products are made,” Childs said. “That is what’s cool about these vendors. They want to show you how drop spindles work or how to card wool. It’s not a big secret, they are here to help.”
A Llama Club 4-H project group will be welcoming guests at door and the Girl Scouts will be on hand to wind wool for attendees.
There are many new vendors and products available at this year’s event including yarn distributors Knitting Fever and Euro Yarn.
Dusty Attic out of Fruitland and Lilies of the Field in Easton will provide quilt stores for attendees.
Freedom for Infinity out of Greensboro, N.C. donates the proceeds made by its handmade infinity scarves to combat human trafficking.
Puff the Magic Rabbit from Gordonsville, Va. creates and sells fiber products from materials including mohair, merino, silk, angora bunny, shetland wool and any soft wool blends. The owner has 25 angora goats and five angora bunnies.
The Wool Farm in Frankford, Del. dyes wool for rug hooking and spinning. Owners raise a small herd of alpacas and some angora rabbits for soft fiber. Their specialties are dyed roving, yarns and wools for rug hooking.
Nine vendors from last year will be returning to Fiber Fest this weekend including Chaska Alpaca, which designs and sells handmade alpaca jewelry and Peruvian accessories.
The business, centered in Manchester, Md., is one of the only stores of its kind that receives all of its products directly from the Andean mountains, where the Alpacas are born and raised in their natural habitats. The wool harvested from these Alpacas is then dyed with all natural ingredients and spun by hand.
The owners of Chaska Alpaca help distribute product from Peru that would otherwise be a burden on the creators to make available for buyers.
“All vendors have a unique story and classes will take place for people who enjoy the activity,” Childs said. “If you’re a knitter, you will find the best yarn. If you work with wool, the finest product will be available. For people who are not familiar, there will be kits and people on hand to help and get you started.”
Attendees have the chance to win door prizes, most of which are gift certificates, donated by each vendor. Door prizes will be given out on Friday and Saturday, only a limited number will be available on Sunday.
Eleven workshop classes will be available during various hours throughout the weekend for a small fee. The workshop includes classes in knitting headbands, gloves, scarfs, beaded purses, hats and even soap felting.
Class sizes are limited and buying a ticket in advance is encouraged. Tickets will be available at the door until the class fills up. A complete list of workshop classes, dates and hours are available on the Fiber Fest website, ocfiberfest.com.
About 600 people attended Fiber Fest last year and organizers hope to triple that number in 2015, Childs said.
This year, she encourages attendees to bring used equipment for the opportunity to resell items. At least two used spinning wheels and a few looms will be available to purchase.
Fiber Fest debuted in 2014 after Childs had been thinking for a couple of years about events for knitters.
She was always knitting in public places such as the doctor office, the beach or while camping and people would tell her they wished a class was available.
After some research, Childs realized all knitting classes in Berlin, Ocean City and Bethany Beach were during the week.
In addition, Childs raised sheep for a while and found small farmers have a hard time selling and distributing their product.
“I started Fiber Fest to increase education and give the small farmer an outlet for its product,” Childs said.
The Grand Hotel and Spa will be offering discounted room rates starting at $84 a night and is located at 2100 Baltimore Ave in Ocean City. Fiber Fest will take place in the ballroom on the fourth floor and on the ground level. For more information call the hotel at 800-447-6779 or visit www.grandhoteloceancity.com.
Tickets for a one-day pass cost $3 or $5 for the weekend. Tickets can be purchased at the door. The festival will run Friday, Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will continue Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, visit ocfiberfest.com or contact Childs at 443-235-2926.
Kathy Withers demonstrates her spinning technique
during Ocean City’s inaugural Fiber Fest, last year at
the Carousel hotel on 118th Street.