So I’m back home, complete with the spoils of war.
There will, however, be no photos. Gasp! My phone spent so much time looking for a signal on the way down there that it just gave up and died. I didn’t want to lug [Mid's] Nikon around in that crowd.
That might as well be the place to start-yes, Rhinebeck gets terribly, terribly crowded. It was like the entire population of Kenmore was in the line for the fried artichokes. There are reasons I have yet to actually get the fried artichokes. However, I feel like the crowds this year were actually not horrible. I don’t know if it was because I was expecting entire population of Utica to show up this year, if I’ve finally developed something like crowd patience, or if the general attitude of the crowd was more live and let live than in years past [I've gone with people who have had stuff yanked out of their hands because oh my god dye lot. Calm yourselves, people, there are plenty of sheep in the world].
However- the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival [what people mean when they say 'going to Rhinebeck'] is the largest fiber event in the state, and it’s rapidly gaining ground in terms of size against national events. You have to go expecting massive crowds. It’s just a given. There are truly lovely smaller events to go to if you don’t like crowds. My only request in light of that is please be aware that you’re going into a huge amount of people so please try to be aware of your general footprint. This might not be the place for your cutesy, giant, handwoven basket you use for the farmer’s market.
I’ve been doing Rhinebeck since I was in high school so while I’m not quite at the ‘nothing new under the sun’ level, I’m past the big-eyed wonder stage so these are my general observations for this year, in no particular order:
1. Cosplaying. I would not have thought that Rhinebeck would be the place to attract cosplayers. I was wrong.
2. The general age of the population has veered heavily towards my age and younger. From things I was overhearing when I lost my mom [see point 3 forthcoming], this apparently was a point of angst for some of the older patrons. I have my feelings on that matter, but that may be a later entry.
3. I lost my mom. For two hours. That whole ‘thousands of people on the fairground’ thing. I was actually proud of myself for not freaking out, because if nothing else, eventually the event would close and we’d both end up back at the car.
4. So many veiled knitters (if you’re new to the blog, I cover my hair full time in public). So many veiled knitters. Did my heart good to see it.
5. So many men. That too made me happy, we could use a gender balance in the subculture.
6. Not so many wheels or spindles-I saw one vendor selling orifice hooks which was the one item I actually needed from this event. A ton of loose fiber, which was great, not so much on the hardware.
7. What happened to all the Icelandic? That was the one fiber I really wanted and I think I found three vendors that were actually selling it. That may be related to point 8, though.
8. Rhinebeck is a lot easier if you’re willing to work with the crowds and skip vendors. Either go back to them or just keep walking. I’m sure Dragonfly and Loop have lovely stuff. I’m not standing in a line 25 people deep to see it when there’s 10 buildings full of lovely stuff to look at.
9. True to trend, it snowed at my parent’s house this weekend. It can’t be Rhinebeck weekend if it doesn’t.
Overall though I got some lovely fiber, stayed within my price per ounce caps and my personal rules (no spun yarn, no dyed fiber, and don’t come home without an orifice hook), and actually had a good time.
Loosing my mom for two hours notwithstanding.
*A potentially unnecessary apology-there were a fair number of people who acted as though they knew me but didn’t approach me. If you were waiting for me to do it and I didn’t, I’m face blind and there’s a strong possibility that I didn’t recognize you. If that ever happens again just walk up to me and say something.