From the left, Pam Heath of Heritage Livestock Canada is pictured with Nancy MacMillian and Margot Dixon during the 20th anniversary Spin-In, held at the Chesterville Legion on Sat., Feb. 2. Both Dixon and MacMillian have organized the event for 10 years each. Thompson Goddard photo
CHESTERVILLE – For those who wished to have a close look at heritage household crafts, the 20th annual Spin-In held in the Chesterville Legion on Feb. 2 provided the opportunity. Organizer Nancy MacMillian explained that members of nine guilds whose members knit, weave, rug hook and spin were present at the event, with some participants creating special items in honour of the anniversary.
MacMillian continued there were approximately 65 spinners at the event, with other artisans dropping in throughout the day; 18 vendors and a great turnout of people interested in viewing and learning the heritage crafts. Margot Dixon, who began the Spin-In in 1999, was introduced early in the event to the delight of those present.
Dixon told the Chesterville Record how the Spin-In began; when the Chesterville & District Historical Society was discussing how to celebrate Heritage Week and the upcoming new millennium, Dixon drew on her knowledge and experience gained at Upper Canada Village in order to organize the first event in 1999.
First held in the Heritage Centre on Victoria Street on the Wednesday of Heritage Week, she explained the first event attracted 12 spinners with approximately the same number of visitors dropping in throughout the day. While it was initially intended as a single event, Dixon commented that the spinners began talking about next year, and twenty years later it has outgrown first the Heritage Centre, then the Nelson Laprade Centre and it is currently held at the Chesterville Legion.
Dixon commented that she was “absolutely overwhelmed” with the growth of the event during the last two decades and with a smile on her face continued how she is “thrilled it is still spinning” and thanked all the support provided from local businesses; the Chesterville & District Historical Society, the Chesterville Legion and most importantly the crafters, vendors and those who attend the event.
These sentiments were echoed by MacMillian who expressed her joy at Dixon being able to attend the anniversary celebrations, explaining that both she and Dixon have organized the event for a decade. In her opinion, one of the reasons for the success of the Spin-In rests in the behind the scenes organization that allows for the “no hassle” participation, as well as providing an opportunity for crafters to socialize, learn and showcase the skills that pioneers to this country would have found almost indispensable for survival.
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.