This afternoon my two newbie-spun entries came back from the Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival skein competition, where they placed first in Class 8, Novice, and in Class 14, Textile Yarn Swatch (a challenge class). Woo and hoo!
Perhaps best of all, the judge from the North Country Spinners left a bunch of helpful comments. I wasn't present for the judging, so especially appreciate having written feedback. As good as it is to receive affirmation, constructive criticism provides the basis for improvement. Y'know, for next year [g].
The rest of the festival was a relaxed country fair. There were classes (the spinning classes were over-capacity) and demonstrations and local vendors and a bake sale; lots of sheep and alpacas and bunnies (I had no idea there are so many sheep and alpaca farms in New Jersey), plus a fine tom turkey and some other prize poultry; and wagon rides. Compared with MDS&W or Rhinebeck, which are big, hectic, and tend to emphasize fine craft, this was small and uncrowded, prices were excellent, and everyone was friendly.
And for those who prefer toney to rustic (or who enjoy both), the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds are near bougie heaven aka Princeton (NJ Turnpike Exit 9). I got there too late for the back-to-school sale at Glenmarle Woolworks, but splurged on artisanal ice cream at The Bent Spoon. They have the usual upscale flavors (vanilla bean, dark chocolate, and seasonal fruits), which are excellent, but I adore their rosemary ice cream. Ah, sweet reward.