September is (fiber) Fair Month in Maine!
This year, we attended the 2nd Annual Machias Fiber Festival. Machias is a small town located in Washington County. If you drive another hour going northeast, you will be at the Canadian border as well as the most easterly point in the USA! Traveling to Machias is relatively easy, and as a point of reference, it's approximately a 3 1/2 hours drive from Portland.
Last year was the 1st Machias Fiber Festival, which organizers piggybacked on the the town's Machias Bay Harvest Fair. These two events, side by side, seem to work well together and brought a large crowd of fairgoers to the town. The Harvest Fair, and now the Fiber Festival, occur on the second Saturday after Labor Day.
The Fiber Festival had a large showroom filled with Maine fiber vendors (and related products), along with some vendors outside, where a few classes were offered, such as drop spindle spinning. There were so many attendees that more vendors would be welcomed! This year the number of vendors was up 50% from the previous year. The rental space for vending was incredibly inexpensive, so if you would like to try vending, this may be the place for you to have your first experience.
Machias also has a lot of natural beauty to explore. There is likely something to appeal to everyone in your traveling entourage: pristine beaches, lighthouses, and a stop at Helen's Restaurant's for her famous pies!
The third weekend after Labor Day, is when you will find the Common Ground Country Fair come to life. Located in Unity, this destination is also an easy drive, about 2 hours north of Portland. This fair's purpose, hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is to celebrate rural living. It has gotten so popular that 60,000 people from all over the country, and from all walks of life, attend this event.
The fiber tent at this fair is a finely tuned operation where you can sell and buy fleeces. There are sheepdog, dyeing, and spinning demonstrations continually over the three days of the fair. Fiber lovers will also be delighted by the sight of dozens of spinners and their wheels whirling, fiber animals next to the fiber they produce, and the many beautiful yarns and fiber creations available to purchase from vendors. You will not find superwash yarns at this fair! All yarn must be grown and processed in Maine.
We were unable to attend Fiber College in Searsport this year. This event occurs on the first weekend after Labor Day. Although there are vendors, the focus of this event are the classes. You will find a variety of teachers exploring many different types of "fiber". Fiber College is conveniently located on the mid-coast near Belfast where you will find our brick and mortar store, Heavenly Yarns!
Although these fairs are behind us, we are informing you about them in case you want to put them in your planner for next year.