Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Spinning at the fair

Ashland Bay Merino Roving in the multi-color Baltic colorway - started spinning this today for another knit Milk Run Shawl (pattern free on Ravelry) - I want something that will go with jeans. I normally carry this colorway in my etsy shop but I grabbed the last of it to spin myself - it will be on my next Ashland Bay order.

Today I was demo'ing spinning at the fair. I decided to bring my electric spinner so the public could see a range of ways to spin. It turned out great - I had my electric spinner, someone was drop spindling, several spinners using different types of wheels, someone rug hooking with handspun, someone needlefelting and someone making bobbin lace.......all this was in our little spinning circle in front of our display.

The fair was very sad today, going the way of many county fairs I'm afraid. In the tiny bit I walked around when I went out to get some lunch I could see so many empty spaces along the midway, the food vendors, commercial vendors.....and in our building it looked so empty compared to what it did a few years ago, entries in the arts & crafts division as well as baked/preserved foods were down. The $9 entry fee for adults (children under 12 a bit lower) is pretty steep for the size of our fair, then you add on rides for kids and food and it's downright expensive for a family. And there are no big name music acts in the evenings like in years past - this year there will be more truck things, bull riding, etc. The new fair manager is trying to make it more of a country fair......time will tell if that works or not. I'm not sure what the Douglas Co fair is doing (the next county up) but last week they had 4 big name musical acts, they're obviously doing something different. I hope our fair makes it for another year as next year is the 100th anniversary.

As I walked out I eyed the bulls by the gate for bullriding this evening, I had a fleeting thought of going over to see them as they were resting and looked pretty benign.....then I thought again as I saw they were only in temporary livestock pens, not sure how sturdy those things are.

How are your county fairs doing?


  1. Last year when we went to the Lane County Fair in Eugene, I had the same reaction. The buildings that used to be filled with floral displays, quilts, veggies and fruits were mostly empty. So sad. And it felt like all the booths in the main pavillion were just for large companies or extreme politics. Even the food vendors weren't that good. But it was crowded -- everyone came, it seems, to hear Weird Al Yankovic. We got out as fast as we could. But not without seeing the goats and bunnies!

  2. I haven't been to a county fair in over 30 years because our Indiana State Fair is everything you want in a fair. The county fair when I was a kid was pretty good, though.

  3. We have 3 "local" fairs. Haven't been to the one in Jefferson County, so I can only speak for the other 2.

    Crook County was going through the same sort of decline that it sounds like your's is. A few years ago, it was down to 2 food vendors and a handful of merchandise vendors. Attendance was abysmal. Then, the Board took a bold step - do away with admission charges. While it's not huge, vendors are back, some rides are back, and the viewing public is coming back too.

    Deschutes County is big, and way too expensive. It's not just the admission price ($10 for adults). Vendors have jacked up their prices to cover their costs (from the ones I've talked to, it is one of the most expensive fairs in Oregon to vend at). They don't charge entry fees for stuff but do for animal entries. The Board and Director seem to view fair as an inconvenience. It's too bad, because it is a beautiful facility.


I love your comments - thank you!