Welcome to the 2017 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!
The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association is proud to continue the tradition with this 44th annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.
Planning and preparations for our 44th annual celebration of everything sheep and wool has engaged our amazing group of volunteers for many months. Each of us and, of course, each of you has their favorite place on the expansive stage on which we pursue our favorite aspects of what sheep have to offer us: the incredible array of activities, technologies, expertise, artistry, skill and passions that flourish because we shepherd sheep! We are happy to bring you this amazing spread again in 2017.
Many of you will be surprised to learn that this year, for the first time, we will be charging an admission fee of $5.00 per adult (18 years and older). This change deserves some explanation.
We are proud that for 43 years we were able to provide the Festival experience free of charge to the public. A few years ago we began inviting voluntary donations, and we are enormously grateful for the generosity reflected in your willingness to contribute. We have relied heavily on those donations, as the continued success and growth of the Festival have made the job of “putting it on” bigger and more expensive. At the same time, we’ve been teetering on the edge of overwhelming our dedicated volunteers, who are the heart of the Festival. We believe that this modest admission fee, for adults only, will enable us to deliver and continually improve the Festival for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone involved.
This year, the pedestrian gates will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Festival attendees will not be permitted to enter before this time. This will allow vendors and the Festival team the time they need to prepare for the day, free from eager early shoppers! We ask that you respect this policy. On Sunday, the gates will open at 7:00 a.m. to accommodate those wishing to attend the Breakfast Buffet and Sheep-to-Shawl Contest, but the official start time will still be 8:30; VENDORS WILL NOT BE OPEN UNTIL 8:30!
This year you’ll find we’ve added more than 10 new vendors and done some re-shuffling to make some of them more accessible. We’re sad to report that Greene’s Lamb sandwiches, a favorite of many for more years than we can count, will no longer be available. Nancy and David Greene will, however, be selling lamb cuts in their usual location.
Once again, we will be hosting an all-breeds sheep sale on Saturday evening – and we are excited to announce that it will include the National Romney Sale. This represents an amazing opportunity to either start a flock or add some excellent genetics to your existing flock, or to offer up your own for sale.
Whatever it is that inspires you to join us at the Festival, we look forward to having you and the amazing enthusiasm you bring to us!
Gwen Handler, Chairman, Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Lee Langstaff, President, Maryland Sheep Breeders Association