Interesting how we refer to certain festivals by their locations instead of by their proper names. The two that come immediately to mind are the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (Rhinebeck!) and the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival (Cummington). Rhinebeck is actually a very interesting town in upstate New York that apparently has many historic sites. I say apparently because the most I have ever seen of the town of Rhinebeck is Pete's Famous (a diner), the county fairgrounds and a gas station or two. I have, however, spent ample time at the fairgrounds attending both the Sheep and Wool Festival and the Dutchess County Fair. There is a problem with the county fair -- when you go you expect to see sheep and wool at every turn and there are only the sheep -- no wool off the hoof.
Today was all about wool off the hoof.
(But first a picture of Wool-on-the Squid (hoof) -- the smaller feet belong to Squidette and are decked out in Socks That Rock -- purchased before it became the big thing. No STR was purchased by a Squid today. I will not stand on a line that stretches from the front of the barn to the back of the barn. The Fold was empty by 2:00 -- and not a single skein of STR remained.)
We start with the long and winding road known as the Taconic Parkway. We will not discuss the brief period of time when we got stupid and went with the GPS's directions instead of gut instinct to get to the Taconic. That momentary lapse in judgment shall be forever forgotten.
One of the things I love about this festival is the drive up. The leaves are at their peak of color and it just feels like autumn.
A mere two hours after leaving home we rolled on to the quiet streets of Rhinebeck and indulged in a decadent breakfast at Pete's Famous. Three out of four Squid had banana pancakes and two out of two Squidlings were indulged with hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Another momentary lapse had us parking at the more northern parking lot. Not really a big deal except that my Aunt, paying attention to my insistence that we always park in the southern lot, parked in the southern lot. We, of course, had to move stuff between the cars. In a day full of walking it was not a big deal but a bit silly none the less.
Entering the fairgrounds we immediately met with a sheep milk cheese vendor and three out of four Squid were in cheesy heaven. (Mama Squid tolerates their peculiarity much as they tolerate her obsession with things fibery.) Almost as immediately the Squid met up with good friends and started a long conversation. Let it be said that Mama Squid did not tolerate this at all ... there were no crowds yet ... the shopping had to begin! Since the other adult female was already off hitting the stalls, Mama Squid left the men and charged ahead trailing Squidlings behind.
The first purchase of the day was made very quickly -- a brushstrokes batt from Indigo Moon Farm -- 50% alpaca, 30 % merino, 20 % silk. Soon after two bunches of roving from The Wooly Hutch (destined for socks for Papa Squid) and another bump of Coopworth from Stefania for the never ending Mitered Jacket project
That was it for the fiber purchases. Yup -- nothing more. Really! We did get pickles, wine, cheese and fudge (of course!). We also noted where the Route 9 bike route was and may ride part of it next summer.
Much of the rest of the day was spent playing Blogger Bingo! The entire family got in to the act with Squidette being the main Square spotter. It was really cool to meet people that I only know through their blogs. It was also very satisfying to realize that people actually read what I have to write. More then a few people commented on the biking and one lurker introduced herself as a fellow geocacher who had managed to find one of our signature Z socks! (Jessica Z. of Experiments in Greed, come forward with your blog link!)
The game reached a frenzy with the Blogger meet-up. Papa Squid was kind enough to document the proceedings for posterity.
Bloggers met included (but are not limited to -- I did not write down everyone's name): Marilyn, Kirsten, Carol, Christine, Dana, Jessica, Chris, Stitchy herself, Elizabeth, Cathy, Jessica, Monica, Michelle, Julia, Iris, Hannah and many, many more. It was rather surreal for this shy squid to introduce herself to so many people. It was pointed out by my loving husband that had I been alone I would not have gotten a single square since I just did not want to bother anyone. He is probably correct. Fortunately I had him and the Squidlings along to force me to overcome my innate shyness.
I did not get a Bingo but it was still a whole lot of fun.
And for a slight contrast -- a view of zero bloggers.
We have an idea for next year -- a variation on geocaching involving bloggers, small trinkets and logs (the written kind, not the wooden kind). It would solve the "oh, your not on my card" comments which were then followed by moving on to the next "square."
Little Squid participated in the Mad Science show. Both squidlings next to a Gaint Pumpkin (the misspelling is the Pumpkin's, not mine, read the sign).
And one last view of the lovely fall foliage.