OFFF!

OFFF: It’s the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. We are still farm-focussed enough here in the Willamette Valley to celebrate several flock festivals through the year. OFFF always seems a fit match to the season, to me. Autumn is coming on. It’s a traditional time of year to come together after the harvest and show off your livestock, and exchange goods with others of like interests. Nothing engages a shepherd more than a good conversation about foot rot or occipital condylar displasia. And hardly anything is more fun than a festival of selling and buying and learning.

Here is me in my vendor’s booth on Saturday:

2007 OFFF

If it looks like I have red hair, you might take that up with my friend Betty over at Musings of a Vermont Shepherd).

I wish I could describe well the variety of people who pass by a booth in two days. There are Earth Mothers and Cowgirls with their Cowboys in tow, a Trucker Mama in a tee-shirt with, given the folksy nature of the event, a strangely chosen slogan (“Hamm’s Beer! Proud to be an American!”), teenagers in pink tube shirts, grandmas with blue hair, sports team mothers in team color caps, an earnest young couple in Goth spikes who wanted to learn to spin, several inexorably aging hippie womyn in floaty silk floor-length cloaks and more gracefully aging hippie myn with their beards spread upon their chests, their hair tied back, and their delicate silver earrings glinting in the September sun. There was a genuine Holly Hobby in heavy shoes and a flower-printed dress and a straw hat pulled down far. There was a man who must have stepped straight from his tintype print and found himself wandering a fairgrounds full of fiber sellers and buyers, still wearing his working clothes of vest, cap, and broadfall trousers. He seemed oddly at home. A family of Russian Old Believers came by, and stood next to a woman with tattoos and a leather halter top. Such an array of body types: the slender, the melon-shaped, the tall, the scrunched: turnips next to broomsticks. Colors: earth tones and natural fibers, space-dyed silks, dipped and dabbed, natural indigo and cellophane cerise, a colorbox poured out across the fairgrounds. Crayola never imagined such a variety. If you ever wondered at the difference between red violet and violet red, here is the place to see it! And such a display of woven and knitted and felted garments! Wonderful things! And a few truly odd things, too, but all of them in joyful abundance, all in one place. (Face it, many of us are well above 30 by now, though we once thought that might never happen. And we probably ought not to be wearing midriff-exposing tops, even if they are exquisitely knitted of hand-spun, hand-dyed, rare-breed wool.)

I wanted to photograph them all, but it would have been unacceptably rude.

I conclude with a little item seen at the show:

Sheep wool Boarder Lester:

Staying on?

(For our non-sheep-culturing readers, the breed in reference is Border Leicester. Perhaps Lester was staying on?)

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Published in: Uncategorized on September 25, 2007 at 9:49 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey! from one redhead to another…sounds like a neat festival…one of the things this fall has made me think more about is doing rather than putting off! who knows, maybe next year, I’ll get to OFFF, but i promise, no halter tops, midriff revealing or otherwise!

  2. By next Sept., we should have a new house suitable for putting up guests! If you come, be sure to bring stuff to sell in the booth. My friend and booth minder Rose cleaned up this year with knitted shawls, hats and scarves. (Glad to see you are back online, too. Have you slept off the wing surgery?)


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