The Eighth Annual Fiber Festival at Riverside Park along the Arkansas River in Salida is one of the premier events in the Central Colorado Rockies. The festival features handmade items from cashmere, cotton, wool, linen, and animal hair from craftspeople throughout the region. The purpose of this popular event is to showcase the work of local artisans and build an appreciation for materials made from natural fibers.
The festival begins on Saturday, Sept 7 at 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. The hours for Sunday are 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Events include:
- Demonstrations from yarn spinning to fly tying
- Sponsor demonstrations for looms and other machinery
- Colorway Contest
- Food and drink
- Silent Auction
- Fiber Art Exhibition
The Fiber Festival started in 2012, and is run exclusively by volunteers. The festival also has a list of local and state-wide sponsors, many of them connected to the textile industries. The products you will see on display and for sale are made by individuals who feature their work. This includes a “pop-up” fashion show of wearable handmade clothing such as capes, jackets, scarves, hats, mittens, and pants made by the local artisans who have booths at the fair.
Special demonstrations include using a drop spindle and peg loom weaving, along with weaving for garments. Participants will demonstrate how to spin thread and yarn from the hair of rabbits, alpacas, llamas, vicunas, sheep, and other animals that are kept on local farms. The goal is to build an appreciation for their natural fibers and traditional textiles.
The Activity Tent features volunteers who will give everyone an opportunity to make yarn ropes, pom poms, and beads. Others can try their hand at weaving and spinning yarn.
The contest has two awards given on Saturday for the best use of color in designs. It is a special feature of the festival that began in 2017. Colorway refers to the use of two or more designated colors woven into an original design. Variegated colors and shades or the “ombre” of one color are considered colorway in yarns and fabrics.
Entrants must have purchased the materials from vendors in the colorway scheme of last year’s festival to create their designs. The 2018 colors were inspired by Alpine Meadows and range from the dark green of the trees to grass tones along with the purples, dark, and pale pinks of the flowers. Yarns were spun in these colors last year for people who wanted to create designs for this year’s contest.
From it’s vibrant display of colors, to the intricate handy work by artisans, this contest is one you don’t want to miss.
Food and Drink
No one goes hungry at the Salida Fiber Festival!
Salida’s food trucks will be on the grounds offering a variety of fresh, locally made eats throughout the day plus non-alcoholic beverages.
No festival in Colorado would be complete without local libations! The beer garden hosts a variety of local wines, beers, and distilled spirits. You can grab a brew for only $5 at nearby Benson’s Tavern and Beer Garden and Vino Salida Wine Cellars will offer glasses of their finest white and red wines in addition to their mead, a special honey wine.
Soulcraft Brewing will serve their award-winning Headwaters IPA and the Big S Brown Ale. You don’t want to miss Wood’s High Mountain Distillery’s Sweet Tea Gin. All alcohol products are made and brewed in the Salida area and only served to people over 21 years old.
Fiber Art Exhibition
The Fiber Art Exhibition will open the Friday before the fair at the Steam Plant Parquette Gallery and remain on exhibit through September. All items on exhibit must be of natural fibers in original designs and created by people living within 50 miles of Salida. The items on exhibit must also be for sale.
The Steam Plant theater will feature the film “Interlacements: Thread and Lives” after the Fiber Art Exhibition. Weaving is as old as recorded time and it is part of the social fabric of many civilizations. The film features five stories about the connection between the weavers and the people who use and appreciate their products.
Located in the Rockies at an elevation of 7,000 feet in a valley between the Sangre de Christo and Sawatch Mountain ranges, Salida is the perfect setting for the festival. The Arkansas River flows through the town and offers a variety of year-round activities you can enjoy during the festival including fishing, river rafting, and kayaking.
Salida is also a town that has a buzzing art scene and attracts many artists and musicians. Downtown Salida features an art walk and numerous festivals throughout the year that include music from local talent. This is the place to visit any time of year but the unique Fiber Festival attracts people from all over the West. Reservations are still available at the Creekside Chalets during the festival for spectators or participants so call to book your stay today.