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Mitchell Events Center to host Fiber Arts Fair
September 11, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Gering Citizen file photo Fiber artist Laurie Alkire demonstrates her skill in knitting at last year’s Fiber Arts Fair. This year the fair returns to the Mitchell Events Center at the fairgrounds on Saturday.

Anyone who’s wondered how textiles are made and how they end up in clothing will have an opportunity to find out this weekend.

The 5th annual Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair happens this Saturday at the County Fairgrounds Event Center in Mitchell from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Industry leading, nationally known instructors will be demonstrating numerous areas of fabric art production. Just some of the techniques the public can watch include knitting, spinning, embroidery, quilting, crocheting, felting and painting fabrics.

The weekend actually starts on Friday, Sept. 13 with classes for both children and adults at Grace Chapel in Scottsbluff. Classes usually fill up fast, but instructors will also be at the Event Center on Saturday.

People can also learn where fiber comes from as animals such as sheep, alpaca, llama and angora rabbits will be on display. “It’s a natural for them to be at the fairgrounds,” said July Wilson, one of the group volunteers. “They’re what you expect to see at the fair.”

Vendors selling everything from yarn to supplies and much more will be available on Saturday. Food vendors will also be there and the Green Valley Homesteaders will provide music throughout the day.

During the fair, people can sign up for tours of the Brown Sheep Company and also for a historical presentation on sheep wagons at Barn Anew Bed and Breakfast.

“This is a way of keeping hand crafts alive,” Wilson said. “We could lose those if future generations don’t see how that’s done. This is something our young people should be learning. Some schools are now offering a class in knitting because it helps people to focus.”

During the day, people can witness the entire scope of fabric production, from animal to fabric. Wilson said one instructor sometimes has an angora rabbit in her lap as she spins the hair directly from the animal.

Admission to the fair is $1 for adults and free for children under 12.

“We have people register for classes and attend the fair from all over the area,” Wilson said. “The come from Colorado, eastern Nebraska, South Dakota. They come because some of the instructors are nationally known in their field.”
More information is available from their group’s website at nebraskafiberfair.com.
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