The Mountain and Valley Wool Association
– a bit of history –
The Mountain and Valley Wool Association (MAVWA) has almost a quarter-century history in the upper Rio Grande region of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The Association as we know it today grew out of a project called the Wool Products Association that was begun as an economic development project sponsored by Christian Community Services in Alamosa, Colorado. The idea was to connect regional animal fiber growers with regional fiber artists for the economic benefit of both. The Association was incorporated, under its current name, as a membership organization in April 1983.
In 1983 at a MAVWA meeting and wool workshop in Antonito, Colorado, it was decided to do a wool fair, and out of this decision grew the Wool Festival at Taos.
1984 was the first Wool Festival at Kit Carson Park in Taos. It was held on September 29th with 15 booths. During those first two years the festival was held in the smaller area of Kit Carson Park north of the central buildings, near the main entrance.
Wool-working demonstrations and the Fashion Show began during the second Wool Festival. The Fashion Show was a continuing event each year until 1999. Since then we have judged garments and home décor as a separate contests.
The 3rd Wool Festival, in 1986, moved its location in Kit Carson Park to the large area between the stage and the theatre where about 40 booths circled the large lawn area.
Sheep on exhibit became part of the Festival the second year, and sheep shearing demonstrations began the third year.
1987, the fourth year, marked the beginning of the Awards Banquet tradition, which started at the Presbyterian Church and then moved to larger space in the Kachina Lodge. From 1999- 2003 it was held in the Main tent at the Park. In 2004 the banquet was held at the Taos County Agriculture Center for the first time, and has been held there ever since
Fiber Arts Workshops were added in 1999 with great success and continue to add much in the way of educational opportunities and enthusiasm.
The Association membership voted in 2001 to amend the by-laws to include Texas with New Mexico and Colorado, as the region whose animal fibers and fiber artists the Wool Festival at Taos seeks to promote.
Each year the Wool Festival grows a little bit more. It is chock-full of fiber vendor booths and has a good selection of food booths.
The events currently include:
- Sheep Shearing and Fiber Critter Showcase
- Wool Show & Contest
- Handspun Yarn Show & Contest
- Garment and Home Accessories Contests
- Silent Auction
- Kid’s-Hands-On Activities
- Wool-Working Demonstrations
- Live Music throughout the days
- Workshops before and after the Festival
The wonderful folks that come every year tell us that they enjoy the Wool Festival for its old-fashioned country-fair feeling and casual atmosphere, for the delicious lamb, and the myriad of wool and wool products so finely crafted.