It was Wharfe Wool Fair last Saturday. The day dawned bright and sunny, as if!! No, the day dawned very wet and very windy which was unfortunate as first task of the day was to erect a marquee. My heart sank as I lay in bed listening to the downpour, however the rain had lessened considerably by the time we were on site.
Simon set off first to meet our generous friends who were not only loaning the marquee but helping to erect it. Whilst I got the more difficult task of getting two teenage girls out of bed early. By the time the girls and I arrived the frame was up and the roof on. Great progress but wait, the wind hadn’t died down and the courtyard wasn’t protecting the marquee it was acting as a giant vortex and 4 adults (2 of the other stallholders hleping by now), ropes and concrete blocks were failing to keep it on the ground. They struggled on for a little while longer trying to stabilise it before we decided it just wasn’t happening and in the interests of safety we’d have to abandon it.
During this, stallholders were arriving and were being helped to their stands by two slightly awake teenagers. Losing the marquee meant the spinning demonstrations by the Craven WSD Guild and the pom pom making by local guides had to be accommodated inside. This meant we lost the dedicated space for the crochet workshop who then had to have numbers cut short and manage to squeeze in the same room with the public watching their every move. And that was after a brief tussle to secure their seats! Good job the workshop was run by good friend Kate who is very capable and unflappable. It all seemed very calm and under control when I popped in.
The teenage girls, Charlotte and Niamh, worked hard setting up our stall, helping others and running errands including a breakfast run. Strangely, breakfast seemed to improve their mood and alertness, can’t imagine why.
It was only with the help of the girls that we personally were ready on time with the Adelaide Walker stand. Messing with marquees, welcoming stallholders, rearranging rooms and setting up our stall required more than me and Simon. The photo above was taken about 10 minutes before opening and it all looks calm and very well set out. The stallholders put a tremendous amount of effort into making their stalls appealing.
Niamh and Charlotte spent the day welcoming visitors, directing them to toilets, cafe, demonstrations, taking money and signing them up for workshops. Great job girls. We had around 330 visitors to the fair and so far feedback from everyone involved has been very positive.
The workshops/taster sessions of crochet, hand carding, spinning, wet and dry felting were well attended and people seemed very pleased with what they learnt / made.
We only had an hour for the sessions as the rooms used were only available in the afternoon. To say people had never felted before and we had only one hour some lovely things were made.
Can you see the head on one of the pebbles? reminiscent of a Victorian cameo isn’t it? At lunch time our teenage helpers were joined by Jack and bless him he ran to the sandwich shop and back so I’d have time to eat my lunch between workshops. Thanks Jack.
It all packs down in a remarkably short space of time and most stallholders were already on their way home within 45 minutes of the show closing. Niamh, Charlotte and Jack not only helped to pack up our stall and load our car but they willingly carried boxes, bags and various other paraphenalia out to waiting vehicles for the other stallholders too. What a pleasure they were to have around and absolutely essential too.
The guild ladies were happy with their day and had lots of enquiries from people about joining their group, the guides made a huge pile of yellow pom poms towards the yarn bombing that will be happening around Otley as part of the Tour De France celebrations and I was delighted that the whole event went so well and that people turned out to support it. It seems we may have to repeat it next year.