Fiber at the Fryeburg Fair began in 1991 as a spinning demonstration in the lama barn to partly answer the question of "what do you do with a llama"? At that time, no one could have guessed that it would grow in popularity to the point of having its own exhibition hall.
After the first year of spinning yarn in the barn, it was determined that the public was interested in learning more about the use of animal fibers and the fiber arts. The following year a 10- x 10-foot tent was put up next to the Llama Barn for demonstrating skirting and picking fleeces, spinning and felting. By the following year, the llama boom had taken hold and attracted more llamas than the barn could hold.
It was decided that a 20- x 30-foot tent would be erected to accommodate overflow llama pens for the show at the beginning of the week; and once llamas were gone, the space would be used to demonstrate fiber arts and reintroduce a venue for farms to show and sell their animal fleeces, something that had been missing from the fair.
From that point on, Fiber at Fryeburg took on a life of its own. The tents kept increasing in size to accommodate the expanding demand. With the addition of a fiber show & sale, more demonstrations evolved. Not only did folks want to take home quality fleeces for their winter fiber projects, but they also wanted to take home the things that they could not create themselves. Fiber at Fryeburg became a place where fairgoers could find high-quality animal fiber products to purchase.
At the end of fair week 2003, fair officials decided the time had come to improve the facility. The Fiber Center was erected in the summer of 2004 and is the only agricultural building of its kind devoted specifically to fiber education in New England. Open 9-9 daily and 9-6 on the final Sunday, the center hosts several demonstrations that vary from day to day. More than 30 volunteers devote their time to fiber education demonstrating fiber arts and crafts.
We hope that if you have never been to the Fiber Center or to Fryeburg Fair, you will add it to your must-do list soon.