Pagosa Fiber Festival
May 30-31
Animals • Workshops • Fashions • Navajo Rug Auction • Demonstrations & Competitions

The last weekend in May marks the eighth anniversary of the Pagosa Fiber Festival. Hoping for a dry and sunny weekend, festival organizers have elected to continue to hold much of the event at Town Park in downtown Pagosa Springs. Despite last year’s sudden snow, attendance was up and festival goers reported having a good time. This year, tents will be moved to higher grounds … just in case. Hours are Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those who have never been to the Fiber Festival are in for a treat for the whole family and those who have, will want to repeat the experience. Events are ongoing in several different locations, much like a three-ring circus. In the big livestock tent, you’ll find all kinds of interesting animals for sale, viewing or petting — alpacas, llamas, cashmere and angora goats (which produce mohair) and angora rabbits (which produce angora) and several different breeds of sheep, including the unusual many-horned Navajo Churro. Most imposing of all are the Scottish Highlander Cattle, which are combed for their soft and workable undercoat.

Periodically, audiences will gather to hear a variety of talks on the care and breeding of small livestock or demonstrations of the many different ways that animal fiber can be worked into wonderful creations. In addition, many fiber artists have their gorgeous handmade products for sale at the festival.

Outside, on the half-hour, goats and sheep are relieved of half a year’s fiber during the shearing process. On the same stage, visitors can enjoy a fashion show of handmade articles of every description. In the vendor’s tent you’ll find more fiber, fashioned into every conceivable form — hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, rugs, etc. In addition, local and nationally known fiber artists demonstrate their art throughout the weekend, whether it be spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting or felting. The festival also offers fiber artists the opportunity to enter their creations and yarns in competitions.

Tasty food and fun for the kids round out the weekend’s attractions. All this and more for $1 admission; kids under 12 are free. The Fiber Festival is a family affair and offers additional attractions for sophisticated interests — for example, the Navajo rug auction and fiber workshops.

The annual Navajo rug auction is scheduled for Saturday evening beginning at 5 p.m. and will take place at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, on Hot Springs Boulevard. The large selection of beautiful, hand woven rugs direct from native artists is on display Saturday prior to the auction. Both the casual buyer and the expert collector are sure to find prize acquisitions.

Fiber workshops will take place at the community center. Workshops are offered on May 28 and 29. This year’s fascinating offerings include:

• Thursday — Navajo Weaving Boot Camp (two days), Long Wool Spinning, Two Handed/Two Color Knitting, Wet Felting a Hat, Crochet the Silk Flower Neck Warmer, Knitting with Beads/Japanese Kuhmihimo Braiding, and World of Color-Yarn Design by Inspiration.

• Friday — Yarn Dyeing, Lockerhooking a Potholder, Sculptural Knitting of the Southwest, Needle Felting a Bear, and Wet Felting a Nuno Scarf. The selection is attractive to both expert and beginning fiber artists.

The Pagosa Fiber Festival is an ambitious exposition of fiber animals, fiber artists and the many products of the cottage industry that has grown up around the lifestyle of the small sustainable farm. As such, it helps preserve the rural lifestyle and landscape held so dear by so many, and supports the farmers who are helping to diversify economic activity in the area. The event contributes mightily to making Pagosa Springs the fiber center of the Four Corners Area.

For further information about the event, contact Jane McKain at (970) 264-4458 or go online at Individuals interested in participating will find the following forms online: Workshop Registration, Vendor Application, and Guidelines for the Garment and Home Accessories Contest and Handspun Yarn Show. Watch The Pagosa Springs SUN for additional information about the Pagosa Fiber Festival.

Submitted by Pauline Benetti,