Nearly 600 people attended the First Annual Whatcom SkillShare Fair in September, presented by Transition Whatcom, and gauging from the overwhelmingly positive response from fairgoers, there will definitely be a 2nd Annual SkillShare in 2013. Attendees were able to attend hourly skill sharing demonstrations and peruse booths with information ranging from raising rabbits, courtesy of the 4-H kids, to how to start a small business, or basic carpentry or gardening. Beekeeping was one of the most popular areas, as were the ongoing demonstrations of how to make a camp stove from a pop can, and how to use a scythe. Youngsters lined up to try to milk a goat. The mini-anaerobic digester demonstration was another popular offering. Fair-goers crowded in to watch 89-year-old Erma Boothby show how to darn a sock. Mrs. Boothby commented later, “I never knew so many people would be interested in learning how to darn a sock! Even men!”
Volunteers and attendees were encouraged to wear a note on their back indicating what kind of skill they could teach at a moment’s notice- and these ranged from how to whistle with two fingers to how to tie knots and all kinds of other fun and/or practical skills.
The event was lively with some of the areas most talented musicians, young Irish Dancers, barbeque and curly fries, and a few brave folks who got on the soapbox to voice their opinions. Organizers are hoping to expand the fair next time to include a blacksmith, more animal husbandry, and will be connecting with the community’s elders to encourage more of them to share skills that younger generations have yet to learn.
"We found this event to be an excellent way to energize the community and to invite participation from a wider range of Whatcom county residents. We recommend it for other initiatives either working toward a Great Unleashing or in need of a follow-on activity after Unleashin," wrote Warren Miller, Transition Whatcom organizer.