AMHERST – All things fibre were celebrated here Tuesday as Amherst’s fifth Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival was officially kicked off.
Participants packed into the festival’s headquarters in the clock tower building downtown to hear organizers talk about the impact the growing festival is having on the town and its arts community.
“We’ve really seen a huge increase since our first festival in 2008. We went from having 20 events that first year with five workshops to having more than 50 events and 20 workshops this year,” organizing committee chairwoman Phyllis Cameron said during the official opening. “We’re really pleased with the growth we’ve seen since the beginning and we’re looking forward to it continuing.”
The festival continues through Saturday with a variety of events at various venues around the downtown. One of the differences this year is an increase in events and workshops on both Friday and Saturday.
There is also a series of weeklong events including the Tantramar Theatre’s production of Knit Wits at the Masonic Lodge, a walking tour and displays at Dayle’s Department Store, the Four Fathers Memorial Library, the Cumberland County Museum, the Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio, Bella’s Café and Bistro and the Gallery of Hooked Rugs on Lawrence Street.
Cameron said a lot of credit rests with the organizing committee and the partnerships it has forged with the Town of Amherst and the Cumberland Regional Development Authority. She said CRDA’s involvement helped get the festival off the ground.
“Everyone has been more than willing to help out in anyway they can and I don’t think I ever heard the word no while we were organizing this event,” she said. “We also have to recognize the merchants, who have opened their doors and their windows to our displays, and to the artists themselves for providing pieces we could use to promote the festival.”
Mayor Robert Small said the festival has complimented the work that has taken place in the downtown in the last year or so and suggested the event has helped bring more activity to the area.
Deputy Mayor Dale Fawthrop, who is the chairman of the town’s new arts council, said the festival is something Amherst can be proud of.
“It’s a great example of the collaboration of groups and organizations and what can be accomplished by working together on a great idea,” Fawthrop said.