Rhinebeck is located in the Hudson River Valley. We crossed the river each day driving from hotel to show. The mighty Hudson from the looks of it. The area around Rhinebeck boasts rolling hills, curving, winding roads, hardwood forests and historic buildings - the Inn in the centre of town was constructed in 1766! A lovely place to visit at any time of year, it seemed to me. But the third weekend in October, it is home to what is reputed to be North America's largest Sheep & Wool Festival. Some of the facts I learned while there, sure seemed to confirm that status.
We spoke to a fleece judge at breakfast Saturday morning. He said he judged fleece at the Taos Sheep & Wool Festival. There were 37 fleece. At Rhinebeck there were 681.
The parking lot space totalled 50 acres. The size of a small farm.
Our booth was in barn # 31.
It took us an hour and a half to get out of the fairgrounds to the highway Saturday night. After waiting one hour beyond closing to leave.
According to the number of sales slips for Saturday, we did a customer transaction every three minutes for the entire 8 hours. Considering these are the old-fashioned, 'che-ching', paper transactions - the electronic signal in a barn never works - most take longer than three minutes to write up. Therefore there are long lines at the cash.
Saturday, there was no time to eat. At 4pm, a friend from my London Ontario days came by and asked "Do you need anything?" I replied that we needed lunch. We hadn't eaten since 7am. She volunteered to stay in the booth while I ran out to a food concession to buy us a couple of wet, soggy, tasteless 'beef on a bun'. Thanks, Sharon. 4pm was late - but sure better than never.
Canadians from Port Elgin - ladies from Doc Knits, Creemore, Ottawa, Londoon, Toronto, Peterborough and Quebec City stopped by to say hi.
When the few Americans commented on the 4.125% local, county tax we had to charge, we responded that we were from Ontario where shoppers pay 13%. Their response? "Yes, but you have health care." Just a reminder of our good fortune here in Canada.
Although I never left our barn and didn't even get out of our booth until an hour before closing on Sunday afternoon, I did manage to capture some of the colours displayed in barn #31.
Then it was 7 pm Sunday night. Our trailer was packed. The fairgrounds were emptying.
We started for home. Goodbye Rhinebeck.