For Frisco’s Repair Fair, longevity is the name of the game as it aims to help outdoor gear see another day, or year
Lisa Kidd got a good 7 years out of her mountain bike arm guards before they suffered a tear. That tear caused them no longer to fit. Still, after they’d gone with Kidd on rides throughout Arkansas and Colorado’s mountain towns, she was not ready to hang them up quite yet.
While some might throw them away for new gear, Kidd brought them to the Repair Fair in Frisco instead. It took volunteer and Frisco’s Environmental Programs Manager Hilary Sueoka five minutes to fix Kidd’s guards, extending their lifespan at least a few more years.
“They were perfectly fine, except when they tore and now fall down my arm. Instead of throwing them away we just stitched them up and now look at them, they’re as good as new,” Kidd said after trying on her newly revived guards.
Kidd was one of dozens to take advantage of the Repair Fair on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Frisco Historic Park. The fair intended to aid people in getting more longevity out of their outdoor gear and clothes for free. People were able to get everything from mountain bikes to torn dresses fixed up and had already helped over 40 people within its first hour.
Sueoka said she got the idea from similar fairs she used to go to in Portland, Oregon, while she lived there. This is Frisco’s second Repair Fair.
“At the time, the concept was really taking off in Portland and other places and I just thought it was such a cool idea,” Sueoka said. “I knew I wanted to bring it here because I saw how much it really brings people together and teaches them that you can fix things.”
After a successful inaugural year, town of Frisco employees said they knew they had to do it again.
Frisco town employees, Sew Tough Repair representatives and a bike mechanic from Rebel Sports were on hand to help with this year’s Repair Fair.
Sueoka’s mother also made the trip from Connecticut to help sew and patch items up. The two had completed 10 patches by the end of the first hour, with a line forming ahead of them to tackle.
In that line was Julie Granshaw and her snow pants. As a member of the U.S. Master’s Ski Team, Granshaw trains four to five times per week during the winter season. General wear from frequent training at resorts around the county most winter days had caused the pants to rip after their first season of use.
She brought them to the fair with a goal of getting another season out of them and was ecstatic to get such a quick fix.
“My favorite ski pants just got repaired and I am so excited,” Granshaw said.
In line behind Granshaw stood Pam Reingold. Reingold brought a handmade costume she says she has had for decades and used in her performances.
“I used to do Angel readings and I was a mime,” she said while holding up a large, fluffy, white ballgown with gold stars on it. “And I’m looking to get back into it, which is why I need this stitched up.”
Across the pavilion over at the Sew Tough Repair table Jason Bretz was hoping his ski bag could be remedied after getting wear and tear from trips to Japan, Chile and British Columbia.
“This was thrown around pretty good on the last trip,” Bretz said. “It’s only a couple years old and I didn’t want to get a new one, luckily my friend sent me an email about his event.”
Others brought backpacks, car covers, protective gear and more as they filled the pavilion at the Historic Park, keeping staff busy all day.
Those who worked the event helped 108 people repair approximately 120-130 items, according to Sueoka.
Sueoka said the goal of the event is to teach people that things can be fixed instead of thrown away, which can be especially important for sewn items.
Textile waste accounts for 5% of landfill space, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The United States generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles per year. Around 15% of those textiles get donated or recycled, while the remaining 85% goes to landfills. That rounds out to 21 billion pounds of textile waste going to landfills each year.
“This event is also just a cool time to share resources and start this conversation in the community,” Sueoka said. “People leave asking how they can find resources online to go home and do it on their own.”
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