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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our Pygora goat, Inka, at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival

Last weekend was the 14th year for the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival held in Canby, Oregon. It was a lot of fun and before I knew it, it was over. There still was so much I had not seen and not enough time before it was time to pack up and head home.

Not many people know this but the festival came about as 5 Pygora breeders wanted a place to show their goats after finding out Pygora goat no longer could show at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon. The BSG had outgrown their space and they decided to get back to their roots as a sheep, angora goat and fiber rabbit show. They did allow Pygora goats to have an exhibit pen but no longer a show.

The 5 Pygora breeders got together and planned out what they envisioned this new show should be like. It was decided that the festival would be inclusive of all fiber animals and natural fiber plants. Next came the question, what do we call it. "Flock and Fiber" was chosen as it was inclusive of all fiber animals. "Flock" for a flock of sheep and "Fiber" that described the fleece on goats, bunnies, llamas, alpacas and so on. "Oregon" was chosen so people would know where this great event was located and "Festival" was chosen as it sounded like a party and a very festive occasion. It was now known as the, "Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival" or "OFFF" for short.

Each of the 5 people took on an area of interest to them. They were: Brandy Chastain Festival Director and show catalog coordinator, Janet Hanus fleece and fiber arts show, Jackie Liner education and youth activities, Darlene Chambers vendor booths, and me, livestock barn and shows coordinator and webmaster.

Next, where was this show going to take place? We visited many different fair grounds and once we saw the Clackamas county fairgrounds, we knew we found the perfect place. It had the old fashioned country setting with a comfortable, cozy, and inviting feel. It was perfect for our venue.

Where do we go from here? Now it was time to figure out how we were going to execute this plan. Brandy and I decided to head out together to visit other shows around the country. We went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the Michigan Fiber Festival and to the Estes Park Wool Market in Colorado. We got lots of idea's and brought them back to discuss with the others.

All 5 of us would meet once a month for breakfast at the Shari's restaurant in McMinnville and go over what we were doing and what we needed to get done. I always looked forward to these get togethers.

Our show catalog went out and we waited for entries for the animal shows, vendors, and classes to come in. I don't remember how the others felt but I was getting nervous as I had a huge barn to fill and what if no one showed up. Of course I had a plan B if plan A didnt work. My plan was to bring all my animals and put one in each pen if I had too. Fortunately entries started to pour in and we almost filled the barn! Many, many, sleepless nights before the big event.

Today, Brandy is the only one left of the original 5. She is still running the show as the festival director. Some of the original 5 still participate in the OFFF. Some show Pygora goats while others are vendors at the show.

Over the years, new areas were added such as the great lamb cook off. It is fun to reflect back on how this all got started and see how it has evolved into one of the premier fiber animal shows with visitors and volunteers coming from all over the country to participate.


Our Southern delivery truck will be leaving Oregon on October 5th and will be making it's way to the east coast. My driver on this trip will be my husband, George.

The kids have all had updated in-fleece photos and fleece samples taken as they are in prime fleece right now. They all have their certificates of veterinary inspection and are ready to meet their new families!

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