CHESTERVILLE – Though the weather outside was frightful; it was the warmth inside this village’s Legion branch that was delightful Sat., Feb. 2.

Spinning wheels were at the ready that day, as the small collective behind the annual Chesterville Spin-In continued its celebration of the ancient tradition.

It was an all the more overwhelming day for lead organizer Nancy McMillan, as the event marked its 20th anniversary.

“I’m thrilled – absolutely thrilled with the support we receive,” she said.

While winter’s latest storm raged outside Sat., Feb. 2, the 20th annual Chesterville Spin-In went ahead without a hitch inside the village’s Legion branch. Lead organizer Nancy McMillan (right) honoured event founder Margot Dixon ahead of the start of the event.

Floor space in the Legion was at a premium, as one side of the hall was bursting with vendors, and the other side served as space for attendees and their wheels.

In all, 121 participants braved the day’s storm, while 19 vendors were on hand.

A local 4-H club even showed up for a portion of the day, with the youngsters given the opportunity to learn about making yarn from sheep to skein.

The turnout was rewarding, if not a little overwhelming for Margot Dixon.

It was two decades ago when Dixon, then living in the Finch area and working at Upper Canada Village, put her idea into motion.

Panic was heightened, perhaps, with the new millennium giving way to Y2K hysteria and belief that the world’s computing systems would come to halt, and airplanes may fall from the sky.

Dixon, who formed what would be the first organizing committee for the event in 2000, made the trip from her home in Brooklin to be part of the two-decade celebration.

None of that came to pass, of course, and Dixon instead focused on a creation that couldn’t be stopped by the hands of time – spinning wheels.

In the cramped Chesterville Historical Centre a small band of participants came together in year one.

From there, it grew, moving out of that limited space to the Nelson LaPrade Centre and then eventually finding a home in the Legion.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable…. I never in my wildest dreams thought it’d be this big and this successful,” Dixon said.

Today, Dixon calls Brooklin, a small community north of urban Whitby, home, having retired and relocated to be closer to her grandkids.

Jackie Jones at work.

Her passion for spinning, however, hasn’t died, and she mixes that in with cycling and other adventures, including a planned trip to the Yukon in the near future.

“When I woke and saw the snow this morning, I was so disappointed,” she said. “But, I got to the parking lot and it was full, I was overjoyed… It’s like old home week for me.”


Lynda McNabb at the wheel. Uhrig Photos