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Tips for your next festival

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Tips for your next festival
The Fall Festival season has arrived! It’s important to do a little homework before the festival to be sure nobody gets hangry and everyone goes home blissfully exhausted. Whether you are traveling down the street or across the country for your next festival, these tips should be a big help!

Use the buddy system
If you’re like me, the festival is mostly about the friends, new and old! Take time before the trip to sync up with the friends you know will be there. I find a group text message to be super helpful. If you have multiple groups of friends, do a couple different group texts. This allows you to easily go back and see if Julie will be around all day or just for the morning.

Check the weather
There is nothing worse than being hot or freezing! Be sure to check the weather ahead of time and pack appropriately. Remember, layers are your friend. It’s always best to have a hat or mittens to put on, just in case OR a light t-shirt underneath, JUST in case! I’ve been on both sides of this. My first trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool was about a million degrees and my first trip to Rhinebeck was -100.
Dress your feet
Your day at the festival will involve a TON of walking. Be sure you are tracking those steps in appropriate footwear. For an indoor festival, I’ll wear my sneakers. For an outdoor festival, boots are usually best.

Maps are your friend
Checking out the map of vendors ahead of time is always a good idea. I like to mark the must stops and new to me vendors I’m interested in checking out. This reassures me that I won’t miss anything or anyone I really want to see.

Don’t get hangry
While you have the map out, be sure to check out the food options. Some festivals have equal parts good food and fiber. Others don’t! A granola bar and water bottle in your bag is always a good idea. If you can eat before the lunch or dinner rush, lines will usually be shorter and service may be quicker!  If you plan on meeting friends for lunch or dinner off site, be sure to make reservations.

Make a list
Spend some time with your Ravelry queue and make a list of potential projects. Be sure you are picking a variety of yarn weights and project types. My list will include the project name, yarn weight, possible colors and yardage required. My list is ALWAYS longer than what I could possibly come home with.

Know your budget and keep track of your spending  
You don’t want to go home from the festival with a car full of wool and be forced to live off Ramen Noodles for the next six months while you pay off the credit card. I like to bring cash, it makes checking out faster. Plus, when the money is gone, my shopping is over.
Cash is also helpful with vendors that have traveled from all over. Sometimes your credit card company will see multiple charges from different locations and freeze spending. I’ve had many friends stopped in their tracks for a whole day because their credit card company thinks their card has been stolen. Just leave the large bills at home! Not all vendors are able to break a $100 bill.

Lastly, take your time and relax! Festivals are busy and crowded. Use your time in line to chat with the folks around you. Ask them about their beautiful sweater or new shawl. They will be happy to tell you all about it! After all, this is your tribe!

-j