The weather all weekend was straight out of Central Casting. We had glorious sun and breeze on Saturday, to the point that I was in short sleeves all afternoon. Sunday started cooler and clear, and the clouds only started to roll in for real on Sunday afternoon. Even then, it only got sweatshirt-cool, not actually cold.
The show on Saturday was really well done and well run. The judge was Eddie Holland, from Texas, but he didn't spend all of his energy talking about the Biggest! Goat! every moment of the show. (Obviously not, or Zoe wouldn't have placed first!) He talked very well about how to tell fleece density, fineness, and quality. He talked about things that were "pretty points" like horns and proud heads, and what we should really concentrate on improving as breeders.
TBird played court photographer for the entire goat show, making it amazingly less stressful for me and one other woman who were trying to take pictures and show goats at the same time. I'm looking forward to a ton of really nice photos all around. The show ended with enough time to get back to the hotel for a shower before goat-group dinner. And wow I slept well that night.
Since the show was completed on Saturday, Sunday was more a day of loose ends and errands.
I wrangled a ride to the festival on Sunday morning so that AMink and TBird could sleep in and close up the hotel room at their leisure. I got there in plenty of time for the 8:30am group pow-wow regarding next year's show. We also had a judge's talk at 11 that we very informal. A bunch of us sat around in a circle talking for over an hour on breeding improvements, show variations, and ways to include younger goat owners (4H and the like). I learned that all five of my fleeces sold, so that is a tidy offset to my show costs.
With what time I had left, I got to wander through most of the show, though I missed two halls of vendors and the petting zoo. I did not buy anything that contained fiber - no fleece, roving, or yarn - so feel pretty good about my self-control. I purchased a pattern, a yarn bowl, glass knitting needles, two bottles of wine, and some chocolate. I also picked up a few brochures for various mills who swear that they will process 100% mohair. (Ohio Valley will do absolutely perfect 100% roving, but it costs your immortal soul. And they don't do 100% yarn.)
We were completely packed, loaded up, and leaving for home by 6pm. We all traded off the driving, so I got to sleep from 10:30 until 1am, when I took the last hour leg to get to my house. That 1am stop also included a Subway sandwich, so I was able to get home, unload the goats, say goodbye to AMink and TBird, and crash soundly until Achaosofkittens woke me up when he got up for work. I fed the cats and went right back to bed. I finally got up for real at about 11am.
This was an incredibly successful trip. Going up a day early (Thursday) made setting up and turning in fleeces a far less rushed and pushed event. The one day of rain didn't have any effect on our requirements, and then the festival weather was perfect. Coming home with company to swap out the driving made it more fun and less dangerous to do at night. It was fun, relaxing, positive, and well worth the time/energy/money to do. Tune in next year!