Letter From the Chairman
Welcome to the 2016 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, our 43rd annual event.
Welcome! The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association is proud to bring you the 43rd annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. This flagship event of the association represents a celebration of the incredible creature that is the sheep. Our purpose is to showcase, and provide a marketplace for, the amazing range of products, services, activities, skills and artistry that both support and reflect the spectacular versatility and variety of what sheep have to offer.
We are farmers, shepherds, spinners, knitters, dyers, artists, chefs, animal lovers, entrepreneurs, educators, parents, men and women of cultures around the world all with a reason to appreciate sheep! They nourish us, they warm us, they adorn us, they give us creative inspiration and they provide us with a fundamental connection to agriculture and nature that goes back centuries.
We are about making connections–between the producers, users and consumers of sheep products. Agricultural experts, craftsmen, technicians and artists help us to understand and explore old and new ways to pursue our sheep-inspired passions and businesses through educational seminars, demonstrations and displays. This year nearly 300 vendors will make up our marketplace to benefit all of us who are unified by sheep!
On display will be almost 1000 sheep representing over 40 breeds–in the breed display area, sheep barns, show rings and at the sheep sale. There are sheepdog herding demonstrations and a sheep-to-shawl competition, as well as seminars and classes for shepherds and fiber enthusiasts run prior to and throughout the Festival. The community of participating shepherds, artists and craftspeople are generous with their knowledge and enthusiasm. There is so much to learn and enjoy!
Highlights this year include:
- Finnsheep as the featured breed
- National Bluefaced Leicester Show
- ARBA Regional Romney Show
- All Breeds Sheep Sale on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Sale animals can be seen in the pre-sale show on Friday at 7:00 p.m. as well as in their pens throughout the day on Saturday.
There is no admission charge, but if you enjoy the festival we very much appreciate voluntary donations in the amount of your choice. Even a minimum of $5 per person will help us to cover the increasing costs of making this Festival possible! Collectible buttons will be given to all who donate.
We would never be able to bring this festival to you without the enormous volunteer corps who make it possible, and we’re always happy to welcome new volunteers. Let us know if you’d like to become part of making this wonderful event happen!
Gwen Handler, Chairman, Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Lee Langstaff, President, Maryland Sheep Breeders Association