It's 9 am on Saturday, May 30, 2020. For the past year, as we worked to pull together the sixth annual Flag Wool & Fiber Festival, we were working toward this date and time when we knew we would be welcoming the first festival goers to the event grounds. As attendees entered, they would disperse to meet fiber animals, see the talent in the fiber arts competition, start the first of this weekend's workshops, and interact with a demonstrator. Many would head straight to the vendor field, eager for the first opportunity to select from award-winning fleeces, natural and hand-dyed yarn, intricate garments, accomplished weavings from master weavers, and more.
Even though we find ourselves at home this year, a large portion of our amazing vendors have online shops. This weekend, we encourage you to visit the 2020 Vendor Marketplace Directory to peruse the shops and support small businesses. Nine vendors are supporting Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 relief efforts by donating up to 50% on their sales to select organizations through Sunday, May 31.
We recognize that many vendors do not have an online presence. For many of our vendors, the rural location where they live and lack of access to technology does not make online sales feasible. These vendors depend on festivals to support their income. As we move through the summer, we encourage you to find ways in your local community to seek out fiber artisans and producers where the purchase can't be done through a website. Many of these vendors are willing to go back and forth over email, have you visit their property (as COVID-19 allows, of course), and purchase through a series of back and forth communication.
We thank you for continuing to support our festival, and the artisans and fiber producers who make our fiber community vibrant.
Today, we should be under the pines on the grounds of Flagstaff's Pioneer Museum, frantically setting up for the sixth annual Flag Wool & Fiber Festival. As festival organizers, the event means dawn to dusk days filled with tiring but rewarding work. We run this festival because we are passionate about fiber arts and the community that surrounds it. There is absolute joy in connecting with this community on an annual basis and witnessing the skills, passion, and love you all bring.
For the past year, a small women-led team has been working behind the scenes on the festival. While the actual festival is only two days in length, planning occurs year-round. This work ranges from securing partnerships and funding, to identifying and promoting artists, to planning and organizing the actual event. We were incredibly excited about this year's festival, from keynote speaker Stephany Wilkes, to diverse demonstrations, to cuddling with Merino lambs, to new and returning artisans and producers making for our largest vendor turnout to date.
When we made the decision to cancel due to COVID-19, it was not made lightly. We recognized the impact cancelling the festival would have on our artists, participants, and the greater community, but knew it was the correct choice to make for the health and safety of all involved. While we can never replace the physical festival, we hope that engaging with you online has managed to bring the joy of fiber arts into your home. We've enjoyed having you follow along online with us over the past week and hope you will continue to do so through the weekend.
This weekend, we will have many posts in this space and on social media covering all aspects of the festival, and our vendor shops will continue to be open online with nine vendors supporting Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 relief efforts through Sunday. If you have photos from previous festivals or items you've created with fiber purchased from a festival vendor, we'd love to see them through the hashtag #iamflagwool.
We thank you for your continued support of the Flag Wool & Fiber Festival, whether it be online or in person next year when we meet again.