News

Family Fun at Home

Posted: April 23, 2020

Welcome to our Family Fun at Home page! Since we won’t be having any in-person Family Activities this year, we’ve put together a list of things you can experience from home as part of our 2020 Virtual Online Festival.


View a variety of wool fact sheets on topics such as Wool Qualities 101, Wool History, Wool Processing, Wool and the Carbon Cycle, and How Wool Reduces Climate Impact at https://www.americanwool.org/resource-2.

Read the Sheep Reporter newsletter for kids.

Explore different breeds of sheep at https://sheepusa.org/resources-materials-breeddirectory.

Watch some videos about sheep and wool:

Learn a new skill by taking a virtual class! Kellie Nuss, chairman of our Family Activities Committee, has made videos of the following classes that would have happened in our Family Activities Tent. These videos are suitable for all ages (including adults):

Maryland Sheep & Wool Virtual Online Festival

Posted: May 1, 2020

Since we won’t be getting together in person this year, we are hosting a virtual online festival instead. Watch this space for information and links to the following activities, which will be published on Saturday morning.

  • Virtual Vendor Marketplace
  • Virtual Fleece Sale
  • Online Swag Store

…and much, much more!

Our home base will be the new Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Online Community group on Facebook. This group was set up to allow the greater festival community to interact, inspire, and share with one another. Anyone is welcome to post in this group. However, if you want to post about items for sale, you must be a current Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival vendor or be part of in the virtual fleece sale.

Don’t forget, 2020 catalogs can ordered through Sunday night https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com/. Your purchase helps offset the printing expense (and we’d rather get them in your hands than send them to be recycled). While you are there, you can also donate to help offset the expenditures we had already made prior to the cancellation. And a big virtual hug to all of you who have already donated!

#mdsw2020 #virtualonlinewoolfestival

Cancelled – 47th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Posted: March 18, 2020

  • May 2 & 3, 2020
  • 8:30AM – 6PM Saturday
  • 8:30AM – 5PM Sunday
  • Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, MD
  • Admission: $5.00
  • No pets…please leave your dog at home

Join us for our Virtual Online Festival, May 2nd and 3rd!

Posted: May 1, 2020

Since we won’t be getting together in person this year, we are hosting a virtual online festival instead. We are working on the following components for festival weekend, May 2nd and 3rd:

  • Virtual Vendor Marketplace
  • Virtual Fleece Sale
  • Virtual Junior Spinning Competition
  • Virtual Family Activities Tent
  • Online Swag Store

Our home base will be the new Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Online Community group on Facebook. This group was set up to allow the greater festival community to interact, inspire, and share with one another. Anyone is welcome to post in this group. However, if you want to post about items for sale, you must be a current Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival vendor or be part of in the virtual fleece sale.

Virtual Vendor Marketplace – We will be creating an enhanced vendor list on our website, which will include links to online stores for those vendors that have them. Many vendors will also have videos available giving you a tour of their “virtual vendor booth”, as well as special offers and discounts for the virtual festival weekend.

Virtual Fleece Sale – Our Fleece Sale committee will be contacting producers who have brought fleeces to sell in the past, and we will be posting a list on our website of producers that have fleeces available this year, including information about what they have to offer and how to get in touch with them.

Virtual Junior Spinning Competition – We will be hosting the Junior Spinning Competition via Zoom during the time slot that the event would have happened at the Festival (Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 2:30 pm Eastern Time). Visit the Junior Spinning page for more information.

Online Swag Store – Beginning May 2, we will be accepting advance orders for a limited selection of 2020 “Apart Yet Together” merchandise (tees, sweats, totes, posters, note cards, mugs) at https://www.sheepman.com/product-category/maryland-sheep-wool-festival-online. Under the governor’s executive order, the company that prints our swag is only allowed to do work for essential businesses, so delivery won’t be until some time after that order is lifted.

#showusyourentriesClick here to read more about how you can show off everything you would have entered at this year’s Festival!

More details on all of the above will be provided as our plans progress.

Don’t forget, 2020 catalogs can still be ordered at https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com/. Your purchase helps offset the printing expense (and we’d rather get them in your hands than send them to be recycled). While you are there, you can also donate to help offset the expenditures we had already made prior to the cancellation. And a big virtual hug to all of you who have already donated!

#mdsw2020 #virtualonlinewoolfestival

#showusyourentries

Posted: April 26, 2020

Another addition to the virtual festival lineup! We know a lot of you worked very hard on things you were going to enter in our competitions this year, so just for fun we are organizing a virtual #showusyourentries campaign on Instagram and Ravelry. No official judges or prizes, just a chance for you to share your work (and for people to vote for their favorites).

Just post a photo of your work on Instagram or in the #showusyourentries thread on Ravelry (https://www.ravelry.com/d…/maryland-sheep–wool/4030287/1-25) and tag them with the hashtags #mdsw2020 #showusyourentries plus one of the following:
#skeinandgarment
#finearts
#photo
#sheepshow
#creativeshearing

For Skein & Garment, please include one of the following tags as well:
#woven
#knit
#crochet
#felt
#spun
#misc

Feel free to include as much descriptive information as you want on your post. You can start posting photos at any time. Next weekend during the virtual festival we will encourage people to visit Ravelry and search for those hashtags on Instagram and show some love to their favorites.

Special note for the Skein & Garment Competition – for the 2021 Festival, we have decided two accept two years worth of entries (i.e., anything completed since the 2019 Festival). We don’t want the public reaction to items in the virtual show to influence the judging next year, so items you show off now will be ineligible for entry at the 2021 Festival.

(For those of you not familiar with Ravelry, it is is an online site for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. There is even a discussion group dedicated entirely to the Festival, https://www.ravelry.com/groups/maryland-sheep–wool)

Cancellation of the 2020 Festival

Posted: March 18, 2020

With regret that is beyond words, we are announcing the cancellation of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival for the first time in our 47 year history. We had originally intended to reassess the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of April, but the ever-increasing bad news in terms of the virus and its effects, and the increasing government restrictions on public gatherings that we do not see being lifted in time for the festival have led us to follow the lead of national, state, and county authorities and make this extremely difficult decision.

We realize that there are many of you that will be disappointed, and, beyond disappointment, we realize that for many vendors the business they do at the Festival is the single biggest contributor to their annual income. However, we want all of you, your communities, and everyone you interact with to stay safe and well, so we feel that this is the correct decision to make at this time.

Because of the complexity involved in planning this event—over 53 different committees, plus several hundred committee members and volunteers—rescheduling the Festival for a later date is not a viable option. We are looking into things we can do to help our vendors, such as the possibility of providing some kind of online virtual marketplace. Some of you have expressed an interest in purchasing t-shirts even if we don’t have a Festival, so that is something else we will be looking into. Stay tuned for further information.

Refunds will automatically be given to everyone who registered online for Fiber Arts Seminars, Shepherd Workshops, or Family Activities. Entry fees for the Sheep Shows, Fleece Show & Sale, and Sheep-to-Shawl entries will also be returned. If you paid for a 2020 catalog, we will apply that money to a catalog for next year. If you purchased admission tickets, we will be happy to give you a refund, but ask that you consider donating your admission fee to the Festival to help defray the expenses that have gone in to planning the Festival thus far, as well as any fees we may incur because of this unanticipated cancellation. If you wish to request a refund of your admission fee, you may do so by going to “Tickets” in your Eventbrite account, finding your order, then selecting “Request a Refund”; or by emailing . If you do not request a refund, we will assume you have chosen to donate your admission fee. We are also going to leave the “Donate” ticket option open at https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com/ for those of you who would like to make an extra donation to help us out.

Please remember to take care of yourselves and to take care of one another, and join is for the 48th annual Festival on May 1 & 2, 2021.

3/19/20 Update

Because the 2020 catalogs were all printed before the decision was made to cancel the Festival, we have decided to go ahead and mail catalogs to everyone who ordered one, and we are reopening catalog sales at https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com/. We have a couple of thousand of them that would normally be given away at the Festival sitting on pallets at the fairgrounds, and we’d love to get rid of them. So order a catalog to commemorate the Festival that never happened! Your purchase will help offset the printing costs. Plus they are chock full of advertisers that could use your support right now!

Don’t forget that can you also use Eventbrite to make a donation to help offset the expenses that went into planning the Festival so far, as well as any fees we may incur because of the unanticipated cancellation.

COVID-19 and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival: Update

Posted: March 10, 2020

Regarding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the 2020 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival: On March 12, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order stating that planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded. We do not know how long this period will be. No decision regarding the cancellation of the Festival has been made at this time. We will reassess the situation and provide an update on or about April 1.

Order your 2020 catalog now

Posted: January 7, 2016

Order your 2020 catalog now so it can be included in the first mailing, which will go out in March. Order online at https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com/. See our catalog ordering information for instructions on ordering by mail.

Online Registration for Fiber Arts Seminars and Family Activities

Posted: February 11, 2017

Online registration for Fiber Arts Seminars and Family Activities opened on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm EST.

Again this year, in the interest of allowing as many people as possible access to classes, you will be limited to one ticket per class in the Fiber Arts Seminars.

Reminder: Registrations will be processed on a first come, first served basis, until classes are filled. Registration will remain open until the night before the class is scheduled, or the class is filled, whichever comes first.

We are using Eventbrite as our online registration mechanism again this year. You can access our Eventbrite online registration page at https://mswf2020.eventbrite.com.

Helpful Hints:

  • Click on the green “Tickets” button and scroll down through the list to select the class(es) you want. You may want to check in advance and make sure there aren’t any browser issues that prevent you from seeing the button and accessing the list.
  • Eventbrite has a 15 minute time limit to complete your order, so you might want to read through the class descriptions here on the website first and figure out what you want to take before heading over to Eventbrite.
  • To save time at checkout, set up an Eventbrite profile in advance so that information on your checkout page can be pre-filled. Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/ and click on “Sign Up”. If you did this last year, you do not need to do it again — just make sure you know your password!
  • If you have not completed your registration at the end of 15 minutes, the reservation they are holding will be released for others to purchase.
  • Because catalogs are mailed, and can be sent to someone other than yourself, we have to collect both a billing address and a shipping address. Unfortunately, this also applies to all items purchased, including classes. If you are purchasing tickets for multiple classes, please make note of the handy “Copy data from” drop-down on the second and all subsequent tickets which will allow you to quickly copy the shipping address from the first ticket without having to retype it each time.

Cover Art Competition Remains On Hiatus

Posted: June 27, 2019

We are planning to commission a work again this year so the cover art competition will remain on hiatus for 2020.

2020 Catalog Cover Artist

Presenting our 2020 catalog cover, featuring an original woodcut done just for us by Bobby Rosenstock of JustAJar Design Press.

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Attention please! We ended up with a small quantity of 2020 merchandise left over from our virtual festival order. This includes short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, sling bags, backpacks, posters, note cards and enamel pins. Sorry, no mugs, and not all sizes are available in the shirts and sweatshirts.

You can view these items at www.sheepman.com/product-category/maryland-sheep-wool-festival-online/, but because of the limited quantities you CANNOT ORDER THEM ONLINE. All items will be sold by telephone order ONLY on a first come, first served basis. Orders will be accepted by Sheepman Supply at 301-662-4197 Monday-Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. I repeat, orders will be accepted by TELEPHONE ONLY at 301-662-4197 Monday-Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

This may be your last chance to get 2020 Festival merchandise!
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