Last week, I drove to Rhinebeck, NY to attend the New York Sheep and Wool festival and its 3 satellite events. As a first timer, I want to share my experience with you here. You can find out more about the 4 events and Gosadi house in the post I wrote “before” my roadtrip here.
Thursday: Gosadi House
Many thanks to Gosadi for the invitation to stay at the very first Gosadi House. With an amazing group of people and the best roommates, a private chef and baker, and an enormous house located on beautiful land, Gosadi house promised a lot and delivered even more. Samantha, Abbey, Flat Michele and
Tiff Hilary made me feel welcome and at home.
The house was more of an estate. A 3 or 4 story labyrinth of a home, built in the middle of 30 acres of land and forest, with a lake… I was greeted by a deer just grazing a few feet from me. Samantha saw a buck. The leaves at their most colourful. I regret not taking the time to walk outside more before I left.
When I arrived on Thursday, I dropped my suitcase in my room and found a bag and box full of goodies and handwritten welcomes. Got to hang out with the other guests who had already arrived before digging in to the first meal by Chef Ali, followed by Mary Poppins in the home theater. Did I have space left for the gourmet popcorn? Nope.
Did I eat a bunch of it anyway? Of course.
Friday: Rhinebeck Satellite events
My first event was the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, where indie dyers and artisans showcase their work. This event features (yes, features) timed entry. I had tickets for the first half of the morning (US $35), so I received a goodie bag. It was a very good goodie bag, too. Just the tote was worth it.
There were 2 shopping pavilions and food trucks. The staff were very friendly and making the best of the weather. It was a bit dark for yarn shopping and I believe some vendors didn’t show up (!) but everyone was cool.
With the rain and wanting to get to all of the satellite events, I stayed here til 11:30 before heading to Wool and Folk. I did snag a gorgeous skein of Hibiscus hand spun yarn by Sandpiper Yarn here.
If it had been sunny, and had I know the shitshow I was heading to, this would have been a longer visit =)
What a mess. It’s worth noting that the organizer blames the weather for most of the complaints of vendors and patrons when all the other events of the weekend managed to give us what they promised.
From the cramped space to the lack of accessibility, to no floor plan and difficulty getting to all the vendors, let’s just say that the US$ 55 ticket price is super insulting.
If you want to read about all the ways this event sucked, join /craftsnark on Reddit and do a search for Wool and Folk. I knew it was bad before reading about it, but now I think it’ll be taught in schools.
I bought a few things here: pins and stickers, mostly. I did get to see some people from Québec (Mme Tricote, Artfil) and meet lovely vendors – such as Krao who made the most of the hand they were dealt.
I left Wool and Folk after a couple of hours, with time enough to drive the 30 minutes to Cakepalooza before it closed. There I saw new friends Asylum Fibers and more Québec friends, namely Dolphina Collective.
This show was smaller – more along the lines of what we see here for small outdoor artisan events. I was there for the very last portion of the day, so my US$ 10 ticket was perfectly balanced with the time left to do the rounds.
I did not purchase anything but had lovely conversations with vendors.
Saturday: NY Sheep and Wool
New York Sheep and Wool – the main event
The New York Sheep and Wool Festival, commonly known as “Rhinebeck,” is one of the largest and most celebrated annual gatherings for fiber enthusiasts, knitters, crocheters, and anyone interested in the world of yarn and fiber arts.
Hosted by the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association, the festival takes place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, usually during the third weekend in October. It’s a significant event that draws vendors, artisans, and visitors from around the country and abroad.
I can’t even begin to explain the size of this thing. “Overwhelming” is a word that begins to capture the feeling I had when we walked toward the bigger buildings.
Here, the people were in a good mood despite the rain. I got to hang out with fellow Canadians Ashley (The Loopy Lamb) and her husband Steve – and had dinner with them and Furls Girls Pam and Lorene. I also got a hug from Amélie of Wööl Emporium, Twist and Fibrland fame.
I splurged on a Crispina Ffrench jacket and left it at that. Hah. Well worth the US $12 entrance.
Sunday: Back to reality
On Sunday, it was Fashion Show at Gosadi House, followed by driving back home.
I also managed to get pics with the people I had not yet gotten pics with at the house =) Driving to events is the best: you get to bring back as much as you want =) No weight allowance of suitcase space to account for. Having been absolutely spoiled at the house, this was a Very Good Thing.
There is no way for me to be casual about all of the gifts I received or the lovely people I had the opportunity to hang out with. As a solopreneur in a niche field, daily life can be lonely. This weekend I felt part of a group and I felt recognized in that group. It was very nourishing.
Do you have Rhinebeck envy? I feel you. I’ve had it in years past, too. I’m very happy to have had the opportunity for this roadtrip and feel quite priviledged to have been invited to stay at Gosadi house for my first time there.
The journey had its highs and lows, from rainy but beautiful Indie Untangled to the chaotic atmosphere at Wool and Folk. But the crescendo was undeniably the overwhelming magnificence of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.
Is this a weekend everyone should attend every year? Nah. I don’t think any event is. But I will say if you have the opportunity to attend just once, you should take it.
As for myself, I’m hoping for a second chance with sunnier fall weather to truly enjoy everything the weekend has to offer.