The third annual Crazy Mountain Fiber Fest brings spinners, weavers and other fiber enthusiasts to Big Timber May 18 for an exciting array of offerings. Held from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Big Timber Civic Center, the festival provides a fun educational way for visitors to learn about the fiber industry and arts, sheep culture, the important role of agriculture and how animals contribute to rural economies.
Fiber Art Circles offer hands-on practice with in spinning, weaving and knitting with experienced fiber artists; Amy Krum offers crochet demonstrations; and the Songs of Norway take visitors on a Sheep to Shawl demonstration, beginning at 9 a.m. when sheep will be shorn. Workshops explore spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, dying and more.
The Fiber Arts Showcase, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., features an extraordinary range of handmade wearable and decorative fiber art; and a Vendor Fair from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. offers fiber-related wares.
Two sheep-shearing demonstrations offer a firsthand look at how deftly shearers disrobe their charges. The festival also features a tour of Big Timber’s historic Wool House, which has provided a place for woolgrowers to store and package wool for shipment for more than a century. It was once was the biggest wool-shipping site in the world.
A Sons of Norway dinner, followed by a jam session, caps festivities.
The festival was started by a group of fiber-arts-loving ladies who realized Sweet Grass County – with its rich history of wool production – was the perfect place to host such an event.
During the late 1800s, Big Timber was one of the largest exporters of wool, shipping out more than 2 million pounds in 1886 alone. Thousands of sheep could be found dotting the hills and grazing meadows from the Boulder River Valley to the foothills of the Crazy Mountains.
With the abundance of sheep grew the art of working with their fiber. Carding the wool, spinning the fibers, and knitting or weaving the spun wool were part of everyday living. Sheep ranchers spurred Sweet Grass County’s growth, and their impact is still reflected shown in the name of the Sweet Grass High School mascot – the Sheep Herders.
For more information, call 406-932-5131 or head to bigtimber.com.