When the Allegan County Fairgrounds was hit hard with the record snow falls in 2013-14 and lost a number of buildings to snow loads, the fairgrounds was required to make some changes. The first year after the loss of the buildings, the festival actually had to use large circus type tents to house many of our events. Thankfully that was only for one year.
We also had to move some of the festival business activities, like workshop check-in, the festival office and the promotional booth because the building we had always used was gone. The process of getting used to the new Expo building and trying to make the best use of this new space has been a learning curve.
We at the festival have tried to keep both animals and vendors in the Expo building but there is a real conflict of interest when it come to what the animals need for building access and what the vendors need for security.
So, we have taken into account all the feedback we have gotten from vendors, animal people and the general public and we are changing the way we are going to be using the buildings on the fairgrounds this coming year and the future.
Michigan Fiber Fiber Festival is getting a “Face lift” with the idea in mind to make the event more user friendly to all the generations coming to festival.
The traffic flow at festival is going to be changing. Building 8A (the smallest vendor building) is going to now have vendors set up all three shopping days, not just 2, and it will become the NEW “ENTRANCE” TO THE FESTIVAL. Everyone will come in the same door and nothing will be missed. Instead of having to wander back and forth in the two vendor building at the entrance to the fairgrounds, you will now go directly northward from building 8A to the outside and food vendors. You will also see some demonstrators, the festival merchandise booth and the “KNIT MICHIGAN Booth” to drop off your donations, or perhaps learn what an awesome organization Knit Michigan is. After a leisurely walk through the wonderful outside vendors and maybe a stop at the carousel to listen to some live music, you will come to the expo center where the bulk of the festival vendors will be plying their goods. Since the animal barns are right next to the vendor building, take a few minutes from shopping and walk out the building to see the Pygora goats, sheep shearing demo, the angora rabbits and the alpacas right across the walkway…then on to sheep barn and angora goats on the other side of them. After enjoying a visit with the source of all the wonderful fibers, its just a short hop back to the Expo Building to continue shopping for all the additional items inspired by a visit to the barns. There will be plenty of rest areas to sit at and watch demonstrators doing lace work, spinning, weaving, machine knitting sheep dog herding and more. Also in the Expo building will be the kids activities, the wool fleece show and Mini workshops.
One day may not be enough to catch everything, so don't be afraid to spend the weekend at the festival. After all, camping is available right on the fairgrounds so you can shop a little, take a few workshops, relax, share with other fiber enthusiast, and shop some more. Don’t forget, Sunday is the day for the obstacle course, kids parade, and of course shopping with your favorite vendors
And of course the question will arise, how is the old vendor building going to be used. The large vendor building (8B) along with the other two building east of 8B will now be dedicated to more workshops right on through the weekend. The Ag building which is the building west of 8A will be the location of the skein competition and the fiber arts displays along with a few other activities.
We hope these changes will make the festival a more enjoyable experience for everyone.