Spinners, weavers and yarn galore at Fergus Fibre Fest

Free rain-or-shine event to host more than 50 vendors on May 25

FERGUS – You don’t have to be into knitting, weaving, spinning or crochet to find something worth checking out at the Fergus Fibre Festival.

“The whole idea of this festival is it’s not just for people who already use yarn,” said organizer Miranda Holmes.

She runs String Theory Yarn Shop on St. Andrew Street West in Fergus and started the festival three years ago as people were emerging from pandemic-related restrictions.

She recalls worrying about how it would go, as it was the first year public gatherings were allowed without restrictions. 

But her fears were eased when the festival went ahead as planned. “It was really great,” she said.

This year’s festival, which takes place May 25 from 9:30am to 4:30pm, promises to be even better.

The free rain-or-shine event boasts more than 50 vendors, which will display their wares in booths along St. Andrew Street. The street will be closed to vehicles between St. David and Tower streets for the day.

Holmes said people can expect to see a variety of indie yarn dyers, such as Fergus Yarn Co., selling their hand-dyed yarns, and a variety of vendors selling supplies and tools for various fibre arts.  

But a number of vendors will also offer finished items, such as socks, dryer balls, handmade throws, pillows and more.

Holmes also emphasized the “educational component” to the festival. 

There will be multiple fibre-related demonstrations and exhibits, including a few animal exhibits.

“We’ve had alpacas every year,” Holmes said, noting Harmony Meadows will be bringing the animals to the event again this year. 

There will also be some lambs and at least one angora rabbit, she said. 

Holmes had hoped to be able to feature a sheep-shearing demonstration, but unfortunately, there were no shearers available.

“This is prime shearing season, so everyone’s booked,” Holmes said.

Despite that, there will be a “sheep to shawl” demonstration, showing the process of taking a clean fleece and turning it into spun yarn that will then be woven on site.

“By the end of the day, we’ll have a shawl to raffle,” said Holmes.

There will also be a flax demo, “showing how flax goes from a plant into linen,” a bobbin lace-making demo, and Riverside Rug Hooking will have an exhibit showing its creative rug-making process.

And though it’s not fibre-related, festival-goers can expect to hear the sounds of the Fergus Pipe Band, which Holmes said is invited each year to create a sense of connection to the town’s heritage.

“We invite the pipe band, because well, it’s Fergus, and because you get such an air of festivity,” Holmes said.

Last year’s festival attracted approximately 5,000 people from all over the province, she said, noting the influx of people likely benefits surrounding businesses.

Holmes said parking is available in public parking lots, but arrangements have also been made to use the parking lot at A.O. Smith on Hill Street, where there will be a shuttle bus available to take people to the festival.

Part of the benefit of hosting the festival on the closed street downtown “is it helps attract customers to all these other stores,” Holmes said.

Lots of people come because it’s an excuse to visit a picturesque town, and some may even hit the festival and then venture to nearby Elora to check it out, too, Holmes said.

“If you make a day of it, it’s nice,” she said.