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Fiberfest 2009

©09 The Media Desk

The Purnell Museum Fiber Festival in Snow Hill

"Just Show Me The PICTURES!

      The setting was almost idyllic and borderline spectacular. If it wasn't for the ongoing light rain and occasional gust of wind, it may well have been both.
      The trees across the Pocomoke River were just beginning to change into their fall wardrobe, there was live music by a halfway decent performer, outdoor fair type food, the people were friendly and if you wanted to, you could pet an alpaca! (see photo page 1)

      Six years ago the Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill, Maryland began hosting a Fiber Festival. And this seemed to be a natural thing for them to do since their namesake was a fiber artist and collector. In her long life (1843 to 1943) the lady made some rather remarkable quilts among other projects many of which are on display in the Museum, along with almost everything else ever made or used in the area. The Museum on Market Street in Snow Hill (links below) describes itself as the "Attic of Worchester County", and so it seems to be.
      But today was the Sixth "Fiberfest!" and the focus was down on the river in Sturgis Park. For the second year running the Museum overran the park with all sorts of vendors, displays, hot dog cookers, and of course, fiber arts demonstrations, which saved the neighbors of the century old converted church from having a wayward Alpaca wandering through their yards, which was what happened as the small fiber fare grew and expanded and attracted more and more attention.
      One of the groups demonstrating how things were done "back when" were local members of the SCA who were doing needlework in much the same way Mrs. Purnell had during her lifetime, and for which she had won numerous awards. Given the wind and rain, the members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (link below as well) may have been about the warmest of all those that spent the day in the park.
      There was also a kids table with a variety of activities for the younger set sponsored by the Museum that both entertained and ... ... "educated" ... ... those involved as to various aspects of fiber related activity and industry.
      And of course, not everything was related to aspects of life in a bygone era. As was abundantly clear at the booth pictured at the bottom of the first picture page.

      But besides wool, bulk or even on the hoof (see picture page 2), died, spun, already sewed, and some that you're not too sure of.... there were over two dozen groups and vendors showing and selling the wheels and winders, looms, sewing frames, hooks and needles, and some items that can only be identified by those who are heavily into fiber arts. The.... (wait for it).... the "yarnies"! That's a real descriptive term, look it up.
      And there were multiple tents and displays from one end of the park to the other where you could get any and all of it, however you wanted it. Many took major credit cards and gave discounts for large purchases.

      There wasn't any "yarn whacking" going on, at least none that the Desk saw, but there were people weaving and knitting, beading and spinning, and even a demonstration of carding. No, carding does not involve having your ID checked at the liquor store, nor does it involve an ante before the cards are dealt. It's when you run more or less freshly shorn wool through a ... through a... a carding machine to... to...
      Well, how's this, come to the Festival next fall (usually the first week or second weekend of October, dates will be posted on the Museum website) and they'll show you what it is. And they might even "whack" some for you as well. (stand back if they do!)

      Links below. All outside links will open in a new window.

The Julia A. Purnell Museum
208 West Market St., Snow Hill, MD
With a link to a page that includes all of the vendors and others involved in the event.

The Town of Snow Hill, Maryland's website:

The Shire of Spiaggia Levantina local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism   and

Fiber, fiber arts and more from the alpaca people:

And of course... the reason the Desk was there to do whatever it did for most of the day.... and

To Picture Page One

Other Desk Photo Essays

[NOTE: All photos taken by the Desk. All identifying names and marks are properties of their respective owners. All individuals represented are private citizens and real names are not used by the Desk. The Media Desk is not affiliated or otherwise attached to any of them. The Media Desk is a registered fully qualified domain operating as a Journalistic outlet. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of anything affiliated with FiberFest! Thank you. ]

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