Public health is a big part of the planning for the second annual Prairie City Fiber Fest.
Ginger Shive, the festival director, said organizers have been collaborating with state, county and Prairie City officials to be compliant with the governor’s executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for the event that features woolen wears. Demonstrations on cleaning wool, spinning and creating useful and decorative items such as rugs, slipper, blankets and socks, are planned.
Shive said they purchased 350 masks to hand out to the general public and vendors that might have forgotten to bring their own. They have gallons of hand sanitizer. Volunteer positions were added to monitor the traffic of people at the three stations.
“The reason we can do this is because we’re spread into three small locations,” Shive said.
Other fiber shows in Oregon were in big convention centers, which hampered their ability to have an event this year, but being spread out into three separate locations in Prairie City made this festival possible. Shive is expecting more people to come to Prairie City this year.
Fiber Fest is divided into the Prairie Baptist Teen Center, the Community Center and the park across from city hall.
“We have got volunteers that will sit outside at those entrances with a box of mask and sanitizer and asking people to use the sanitizer,” Shive said. “They will also limit the number of people that go into the two buildings.”
The park will be completely fenced with a north and south entrance, limited to 100 people. There will be volunteers at both ends to monitor the amount of traffic going in and out.
“This is the way we’re trying to learn to live with COVID safely, and it’s a lot of work, but it’s safety first, and economically, we need the fiber fest,” Shive said. “We’re doing it safe. Regardless of what we’re trying to do with the kids, we’re doing it safe.”
The need for volunteers has also gone up with the pandemic requirements.
“There’s so much to do during this COVID time that every volunteer is a precious commodity,” Shive said.
Shive said the plan is to give volunteers a gift and a social event with vendors and instructors from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 25.
All proceeds from this year’s event and future events will go toward Grant County 4-H and FFA programs. Shive is looking for additional help from these organizations.
“I know because of COVID, 4-H and FFA are handled through the Extension service of Oregon State University, and they say kids can’t participate ... and I understand that, but that does not preclude a parent or an adult to volunteer,” she said.
Volunteers are needed to monitor traffic at the venues, provide masks, hand out materials, answer questions and set up and take down tables and chairs.
The Fiber Fest will be a two-day festival on July 25-26. A variety of workshops begin July 24 that will focus on traditional rug hooking, hand felted slippers, locker hooking, pine needle basketry and more.
The registration cost varies per workshop, but people will have the chance to sign up for a class until the day the workshop is held. People interested in registering for a workshop or looking to volunteer can visit prairiecityfiberfest.com for more information.