November 30, 2021

Fiber Arts Festival kicks off fall theater events

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

Customers explore the Little York Pavilion, where two dozen vendors set up shop for the Cortland Repertory Theatre’s 9th Fall Fiber Arts Festival. Artists and crafters sold a variety of products, including handspun yarn, wooden bowls and knitting supplies, clothing, winter accessories and more

Monica West found what she was looking for at the Fiber Arts Festival in a ziplock bag with a small handmade sheep ornament.

“I have two sheep from the same vendor, and a goat I got at a museum in Auburn. I have this armoire I keep my dishes in, and on top of it I create little vignettes and scenes,” said West, of Cortland. She waited two years for the art show to return so she could add to her collection.

The small felt animal, made of wool with brown pipe cleaners for legs, had a painted grin that matched its new owner’s. West and her husband visited the Cortland Repertory Theatre’s fall fiber arts event for the first time in 2019, and have no doubts they’ll become annual customers.

“For us, it’s about checking everything out,” West said. “And of course, the ride out here is so beautiful.”

The 9th Fiber Arts Festival, at Little York Pavilion in Dwyer Memorial Park, featured nearly two dozen fiber artists, crafters and sellers. Vendors sold a variety of products, from clothing and winter accessories to homemade cheeses, handspun yarn to wooden knitting supplies.

“COVID certainly put a damper on things last year, so it’s nice to get back out and start going to shows again,” said Dan Tracy, woodworker and owner of Dan Tracy Designs. He has attended the annual fall festival for eight years, selling spinning bowls, weaving combs, knitting and crochet tools. “Being at our park in such a beautiful setting with people that are so friendly, it’s a great place to be.”

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

A woman walks through the second floor of the Little York Pavilion, where fiber artists and crafters set up shop for the annual Fall Fiber Arts Festival.

“Everybody has been very positive and excited to be back,” said Michele Ball, festival co-chairwoman. “I’m excited to come back out and being able to look at everything, touch things, buy things — I’ve been feeling really good about it.”

The Cortland Repertory Theatre spent much of the coronavirus pandemic with its doors closed to the public, transitioning to an outdoor stage at Little York Pavilion last summer. Now, the theater is announcing a number of performances at its downtown location this fall and winter.

“We’ll be at less than half-capacity, with the way the seating chart will be, but that also means we’re already close to selling out — which is a great problem to have,” said Kerby Thompson, the theater’s producing artistic director.

On Oct. 23, pianist Wade Preston will perform Billy Joel classics for the fourth year at CRT, followed by A Band Called Honalee on Nov. 6 and A Carpenters Christmas on Dec. 18.

Proceeds from the festival’s $5 admission fee and the food and beverage fundraiser will benefit the theater guild and the theater’s board of directors’s activities, but more of the money will go toward the theater, he said.

“It’s always important to do these fundraisers for the theater, but this year it’s less about the financial side of it and just showing that we’re back and we’re trying to get back into our routine,” Thompson said.