Monday, June 04, 2007

Festival!

Linda and Wild Iris Wool Booth
Linda spinning away in Williamsburg

It has been a wild week and getting computer time has been tough. I've discovered that three festivals in four weeks is a lot to handle! Add the fact that the power was off from Thursday evening into Friday evening and I'm so far behind with computer work and emails!

Talking about fiber and spinning
Talking about fiber and spinning! Photo by Bill Smith

Linda, my sister-in-law Sue and I traveled down to Williamsburg on Saturday evening after I closed the shop to work at the Virginia Arts Festival. We got to the motel about midnight, managed to sleep a little and then headed over to the College of William and Mary to set up. Of course it was raining. And raining. And raining. Setup went smoothly in spite of the puddles, though, and we were snug in big tents near small stages well before time for the shows to start. A lovely little lady came around to invite us to breakfast at the hospitality tent; she was a knitter and showed me some lovely charity projects she was working on.

Wayne Henderson and more talented musicians from The Crooked Road
Crooked Road Musicians, featuring Wayne Henderson

The day was all about the music, of course, and we were located beside one of two smaller stages. Wonderfully talented bluegrass and old-time musicians from Southwest Virginia performed all day, and we only heard half the performances that went on. Sunday's part of the festival was called The Crooked Road Festival, and it was the culmination of seven weeks of amazing performances around Eastern Virginia put on by the Virginia Arts Festival. Linda and I were in fine company!

Spinning and an interview
Up on stage, us? Photo by Bill Smith

We got our share of the attention, though. When we arrived I was handed a schedule and I noticed that a fiber arts workshop was scheduled. As we were working I wondered who the other fiber artists were that were putting it on, and then Linda and I were asked to do it. It was a lot of fun; we just went up and talked about spinning and fiber before an appreciative audience. You'll never find either Linda or me at a loss for words, especially about fiber!

Enabling!
A new spinner!

This delightful young lady was a spinner in the making, for sure, and was quickly making yarn with Linda's drop spindle. She went away with fiber to try and I bet the next time we see her she'll be knitting her own hand spun yarn. Her father told me she was learning how to knit in school, which I thought was wonderful!

Greenberry House Yarns
Greenberry House Yarn

Even with the rain there was a good crowd, and lots of people fondled yarn and fiber, asking questions about the processes and watching us spin. Both Linda and I were pleased with our sales. I was especially pleased to see what a good time the festival attendees seemed to be having, despite the rainy weather. It was one of the nicest crowds I've ever seen and we had lots of fun talking with them!

Music, music, music!
And the bands played on....

The mood throughout the day was wonderful. All though the day it rained, drizzled, cleared up and then started raining again. But people kept coming, not as many as there would have been if the weather had been better but they came. And listened to wonderful musicians from The Crooked Road and learned about the music and about the people in Southwest Virginia. I handed out brochures about Patrick County and talked about where we lived and the beauty of the area. The theme of the day was Southwest Virginia and the talent of the people of the area as artisans and musicians, and I think the point was put across well. It seemed as if a friendly piece of Southwest Virginia existed for a time in that Sunken Garden, and there was a spirit of "y'all come" in our little tent!

Sue's "Monkey Man Gourd
Sue's "Monkey-Man" Gourd

Sue was in a separate tent; there was also a blacksmith and master canner over there. Sue sold several of her beautiful gourds, we discovered, when we met to compare notes. The little hospitality lady came back around to invite us to dinner. We were glad to get up and stretch out legs, and the festival people were gracious enough to watch our tables so we could have a relaxing time together.

Old Time Jam, including Sammy Shelor on Banjo
Final Jam Session, with Sammy Shelor on banjo at the left

Our part of the day ended with a terrific old time jam session, with flatfooters and cloggers dancing to good old tunes played with enthusiasm by a great group of Southwest Virginia musicians. Sammy and Linda Lay had done a show earlier on the other stage; we didn't get to see that but really enjoyed the group that got together for the final performance.

We packed up and headed home then, content with the fun we'd had and the contacts we'd made. Hopefully we made a good impression on the folks from Williamsburg, and they will come to visit us in our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains!

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