Tuesday, October 11, 2005

National Folk Festival, Richmond, Virginia

Ready for the crowds, in spite of the rain
Weekend of Adventure

Friday morning I was up tending to bunnies, kitties and Lily and getting ready to head up to I-81 to meet Sandra of Thistle Cove Farm for our big trip to Richmond. Dad and I arrived at our meeting place and soon Sandra came along, eager for the trip in spite of the rain. We traveled across the beautiful rolling hills of Virginia to the city, talking all the way. I've known Sandra for quite awhile but we've never had any time to just visit. It was great to get to know her better!

We arrived in the rain in Richmond, and headed downtown to drop off items from the Lost Arts Guild to be displayed in the Round the Mountain booth. We were able to get close to unload the things, which was good because Sandra has been struggling with a respiratory-sinus thing for weeks. Then we headed over to meet Mary Lois, our gracious hostess, Lucy the beagle, and the two cats, Skipper and Rock. Rock wasn't as welcoming as the others but Lucy was delighted to meet an old friend and make a new one. I don't know what I would do if I ever had to stay in a house without a dog!

Patrick County Booth at the Folk Festival
Patrick County Booth Set Up

Saturday morning, after a wonderful night's sleep in a beautiful room, Sandra and Mary Lois dropped me off at the festival so that I could demonstrate at the Patrick County Booth. My brother called before we left; some of the stages had been flooded out and some of his performances were cancelled. It kept raining off and on all day, but it had rained very hard in the late evening. I was early for the festival but soon company came by. There were lots of wonderful volunteers around to try to make things run smoothly; some even offered to run errands for the vendors. Then I met the Knitting Ranger! She was working, of course, so we only were able to talk for a minute. But she took my picture and I looked her up when I got home. Check out her blog; she talks about knitting and also about different parks. Interesting!

Patrick County
Patrick County's Finest

I didn't get to see many booths, since I was working and didn't get out much, but the Patrick County folks did a splendid job and their booth was one of the most attractive. Woodworkers, gourd artists, weavers, artists, knitters and more all had their items for sale or display.

Sue's Gourds at the National Folk Festival
Sue's Gourds at the festival

My sister-in-law's gourds were gorgeous and really highlighted her talent for thousands of people to see!

Storyteller at the Patrick County Booth
Featured Artist: Storyteller, knitter and crocheter

Lisa has a farm in Patrick County and raises sheep. I can't bring the name of the farm to mind but she had some wonderful yarn for sale, along with beautiful hand knitted and crocheted scarves. She was a terrific storyteller and kept our visitors enthralled. Unfortunately it rained most of the day Saturday; my workbag and purse got soaked! But we were cozy under the big tent and we had several visitors through the day. I sat spinning while Lisa entertained.

Patrick County Girls
Patrick County Girls

A big bravo and special thanks to Jeannie, on the right, for inviting me to demonstrate and for all her hard work to make the booth a grand success. It was a lot of fun!

Crooked Road Booth
Crooked Road Booth

I got out for a little while in the afternoon and took a few pictures. Not nearly enough. It had cleared up a little when I ventured into the crowds and it was hard to get close to the individual booths.

Festival in the city
Crowds Walking the Streets of the Festival

When I came back to the Patrick County booth, some folks came by who turned out to be connected to old Meadows of Dan families. We had a wonderful time talking about family stories and comparing notes. A historian had happened by earlier in the day asking about the same family; he came back and we really chattered then! My brother came along and a group from the Crooked Road project all got together to play. I had to leave far too soon!

Sammy Shelor and Company
Sammy and Company

We got home to a lovely dinner and some rest. I was exhausted but had a wonderful time. Mary Lois spoiled us with feast and good company all weekend. It was nice to sit on the couch with Lucy curled up beside me. I soon went to bed and we all rested up for the big day on Sunday. We got up to see sunshine greeting us; we knew it was going to be a fantastic day at the festival.

Round the Mountain Set-up
Round the Mountain Booth Set-up

It was quite an honor to be asked to demonstrate for Round the Mountain, a new effort in Southwestern Virginia to promote local artisans. Sandra is founder of the Lost Arts Guild and she had many items for sale made by herself and other guild members. The Round the Mountain people also had pottery, brooms, ironwork, woodwork and lots of other lovely pieces for sale. It made for an impressive display!

Working Hard
Sandra of Thistle Cove Farm and Diana of Round the Mountain

Soon we were very busy, explaining our craft to interested spectators and selling our wares. I sold lots of yarn and roving, to my surprise. There are lots of knitters out there, some felters and spinners. It was wonderful fun talking to people and trying to keep up with spinning as I talked. I've had some practice, though, thanks to the craft tent here.

Comparing Notes
Bobbin-lace maker and me

We had hardly a break all day to even glance at each other. Sandra was plying a wonderful yarn made with a colorful strand and a strand that included fiber from her curly horses. I was spinning my old standby, Coopworth wool. I got through two and a half bumps over the weekend. It was a successful weekend; I gave out all my business cards and brochures and hope I'll have company at the websites!

At six the lights went out, a hint to the crowds to "go home", I guess. We helped pack up the Round the Mountain booth, tired and happy with how the day went. Mary Lois greeted us with a wonderful dinner. I can't say enough about her generous hospitality! We enjoyed our stay so much in Richmond because of her and her wonderful house in such a quiet neighborhood. I had a picture of Lucy but it didn't get home with me; have to get another because she has such a sweet face!

Monday morning we left our new friends, Lucy waving us away in Mary Lois's arms over the gate. It was raining again as we traveled back over the hills toward the Southwestern mountains of Virginia. Dad was waiting for us when we got back to our meeting place. Tough to leave Sandra. We had such a great time! But it was good to get back to my little house and animals. Lily was SO happy to see me when I got her out of the kennel. She was tired, though, and has just now gotten out of bed! Bunnies were fine and the cats came to greet me, lying about being fed! I spent the rest of the day catching up on accounting and computer stuff, including getting rid of about 400 junk mails!

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