Welcome to our 50th!
The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is the flagship event of the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association. As the association president, I see firsthand the effort and teamwork needed by the officers, board members, committee members, and dozens and dozens of volunteers needed to host this event. Like all who help host the Festival, I need to thank my wife, Jan, who is the Festival vendor coordinator for our over 250 vendors. At times it is more than a full-time job managing applications, contracts, answering emails, and designing site plans. She negotiates with the vendors that supply tents, tables, chairs; then there are the permits to apply for and all those regulations to adhere to. This is only one example of what many do, there is no “I” in this team. I cannot thank this team enough that works so hard to pull off this fantastic festival with more sheep and wool than you can imagine.
Our cost to host the Festival has gone up dramatically in the past couple of years. Every service and supplier we need to run the Festival have significantly increased their prices. One example are all the white tents you see all around the Festival, their cost has tripled. We hope you understand we had to raise our admission fee to help cover the increase in expenses. If you are in position to do so, please consider donating to the Festival. A gift from you will help ensure the Festival will continue far into the future.
While at the Festival, take time and take in a sheep show, or walk through the sheep barns and thank the participants. If it were not for the shepherds raising and caring for their flocks, then we would not have all that fabulous wool.
Now on the bright side – come help us celebrate our 50th anniversary!
Jeff White, President, Maryland Sheep Breeders Association
The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival could not exist without its volunteers. It’s as simple as that. From its founders and committee members to our dumpster-diving recycling team and stall cleaners, thousands of dedicated helpers have rolled through the Festival every year, offering countless hours of hard work and heartfelt devotion to our mission. Tackling tasks large and small, they have all contributed to the growth of what has become one of the world’s largest gatherings of sheep breeders, spinners, weavers, and knitters. Sheep don’t have wings, but if they did, these many thousands of volunteers would be the wind beneath them. Some have been pivotal in getting the Festival off the ground, like Carroll County extension agent David Greene and his wife Nancy, who knew everything about the local sheep community. Mary Streaker, an early chairman of the Festival, put us on solid footing in the 1980s, and graphic designer David Ashton created our visual identity, now recognized around the world. Every year, I look at this Festival that I love — our vast and growing community of humans and animals — with such gratitude. What a journey it has been! And by my side through all of it has been my husband, Larry Fisher, who held my hand whether he agreed with me or not, and turned everything I could think of into reality; and my daughter, Valentine, who literally grew up with the Festival.