To the editor:

The Jay County Visitor & Tourism Bureau’s board of directors and staff offers their gratefulness to all who participated in the 16th Annual Jay County Fiber Arts Festival.

Fully residing in both large gymnasiums at Jay Community Center, Jay County Fiber Arts Festival included a whole host of vendors and demonstrators, along with a children’s activities area. Festival-goers came from all over the Midwest, including some who came from outside the region, as some hailed as far away as West Virginia.

The festival attendance well exceeded over 1,000 visitors, as local hotels also reported having several bookings from festival-goers. The new addition of a Fiber Arts Style Show was a great success, as festival-goers enjoyed learning about clothing made from fiber and sold on site that was being modeled. 

Many volunteers signed up to manage various tasks at the festival and went on to master them skillfully. Their commitment and involvement represented an enormous contribution in the success of the festival. We are always welcoming new volunteers, so please consider contacting us to join the team for next year’s 2020 festival.  

Kate Larson, the featured fiber lecturer and artist, did a remarkable job at conducting her interactive, free lecture, “A Short History of Dorset Buttons.” Attendees of the lecture all were encouraged and provided with material to construct their own Dorset Button, with Kate’s guiding, hands-on instructional approach. Thanks to Larson for teaching her heavily attended fiber arts classes that were offered at the festival. 

Marvin Gray, Walter Herr and Will Herr did an excellent job with offering festival-goers an opportunity to watch and learn about the important practice of sheep shearing. All ages looked on as Gray and Herr provided a memorable experience while they demonstrated.

Sheron McClung once again captivated the imagination of youngsters, as she fittingly played the role as Mother Goose. McClung did an amazing job at storytelling and sharing rhymes as she portrayed Mother Goose. This addition of the children’s activities area, among others are always extremely popular festival attractions to visit.

A huge amount of thanks goes out to these fiber art teachers and demonstrators: Jay Wood Carvers, Reduce Reuse & Recycle, Curt Burnette with the nature exhibit, Carl McDowell with the weaving demonstration, Jay Homeschoolers, Arts Place Felting Group, John Lindsey with the spinning demonstration, Brian Aker and the Jay County Fair Board, Jay Community Knitters and Stitch ’n' Chatter Quilt Club.  

We are extremely grateful for Carla Loy’s instrumental efforts at managing the concession items that were sold at the festival. Thank you to Millie Ellis and the Pennville Lions Fair Committee, who assisted Loy with various kitchen related tasks. 

An enormous amount of thanks from the Jay County Visitor & Tourism Bureau’s board of directors and staff is extended to all the wonderful festival volunteers, specifically, but not limited to, Marie McKinley and family, Rachel Haque, Cindy Murphy and family, Kenya Habegger, Jay County FFA, Donnie James with Jay County Sheriff’s Office and Kyle Cook and staff at Jay Community Center. Your giving spirit and self-less volunteerism are examples of what makes not only the festival a great place to visit, but also Jay County as a whole. 

In addition, thank you to WPGW, Portland, and WCSM, Celina, Ohio, for their partnership in promoting the festival. 

Richards Restaurant and Susan Markle of the Trading Post were the 2019 festival’s primary sponsors. Their generous contributions and support provide us with an opportunity to make this event possible for all to enjoy. Thank you for your outstanding support. 

Please consider joining us for the 2020 Jay County Fiber Arts Festival, as it is set to occur on March 13 and 14. 

If you are interested at volunteering or learning more about the festival, please visit or the Jay County Fiber Arts Festival Facebook page or contact Jay County Visitor & Tourism Bureau at or (260) 726-3366.


Gyneth Ausgburger

Executive director

Jay County Visitor & Tourism Bureau