By Kali NelsonFor Inland 360
On 10 acres in Viola, Grazing Hills Fiber Arts Festival is planning to return for its second year.
With open-sided tents and vendors spaced 6 feet apart, the festival is set for Saturday and Sunday. Katie DeWinkle, festival co-host and owner of Grazing Hills Ranch, said it is an educational opportunity for anyone interested in fiber art.
“We also do live shearing demonstrations on sheep and alpacas. We also will have a kids’ activity, so they can learn all the different things about fiber animals and all the different kinds of fiber animals that there are… We try to make it a very fun, educational opportunity for people,” DeWinkle said.
“We also have several fiber mills that come that will also be doing education, teaching people right after you shear an animal, what happens with the fibers and how you get to your final product,” DeWinkle said. Fiber mills transform an animal’s wool into yarn for use in craft projects.
While planning the festival was different because of COVID-19, DeWinkle said she was trying to be as creative as possible so they could still hold the event this year.
“We do have four different hand sanitizing stations. We have a hand-washing station because we have a petting zoo … but this year we’ll make sure there’s lots of hand sanitizer,” DeWinkle said.
Tractor shuttle rides and face painting have been canceled and organizers are asking visitors to maintain social distancing. They also encourage the use of debit or credit cards to minimize handling cash. Wearing masks is encouraged.
“It’ll be on a sign that they’re not required, but they’re recommended,” DeWinkle said. “Then we do have a few extra masks for people to wear and if they show up and forget their mask I’ll have them available at our information desk.”
People must register for classes ahead of time. A full list of classes is available on the event website at ghfiberfest.com and participants can RSVP there.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Grazing Hills Fiber Arts Festival
WHERE: 1042 Four Mile Road, Viola
WHEN: 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 11-12
OF NOTE: Masks recommended, social distancing required. Check the event website or Facebook page for last minute changes to the schedule.