Letter From the Chairman
Welcome to the 2015 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, our 42nd annual event.
When the Festival started over 40 years ago, it was mainly intended to be a place where hand-spinners could buy fleeces at auction. At the 1974 festival, there were 47 buyers. Last year, at the 2014 Festival, more than 643 fleeces from 150 producers and 17 states were sold to 349 buyers. Again this year, the entire Farm & Garden Building, next door to Festival T-Shirt Sales, will be dedicated to fleeces.
Of course, what would a celebration of all things sheep and wool be without sheep? This will be our second year to host a ewe and ewe lamb sale which will occur on Friday night. Ewes, fall ewe lambs and spring ewe lambs of all breeds registered in a recognized registry association will be offered for sale.
We are excited to have Leicester Longwools as our Special Feature this year, as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Leicester Longwool sheep returning to the United States. Look for the special tent and all the special activities that will happen in this area. If your breed association is interested in being featured in a future year, please contact the festival office.”
If you are new to the Festival, expect wonderful adventure and education. As always, the Festival Committee has created a feast for the senses. Taste lamb cooked by area chefs, talk to shepherds, enjoy the many presentations and exhibits, and discover a multitude of opportunities to buy materials, supplies, and finished goods from more than 200 vendors.
Admire more than 600 sheep and then learn from the shepherds who tend more than 40 different breeds in a living display. Watch the craft of sheepdogs nudging sheep into pens. Attend one or more of the many classes and seminars on fiber arts offered before and during the event weekend.
Come join us and enjoy the educational opportunities, auctions, animals, ongoing entertainment, and vendors. We do not charge an admission fee, but need increasing public support through individual donations in order to continue to produce this great event. We encourage those who enjoy the festival to donate a minimum of $5 per day. Watch for our donation campaign at the main gate, where again this year you can donate and receive a collectible button.
Remember that we are an all-volunteer committee, and we are always happy to have new faces join our committee either on Festival weekend or behind the scenes during the year.
Gwen Handler, Festival Chair