News

Welcome to the Virtual Online Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Posted: May 1, 2020

Welcome! We’re glad you are here to help us celebrate all things sheep and wool, apart yet together. For that true, hanging-out-with-all-of-your best-fiber-buds experience (including friends you haven’t even met yet), head over to our Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Online Community Facebook group or visit the 2020 Virtual Online Festival thread on Ravelry. Unlike the in-person Festival, this one won’t have to close down at night and will go on all weekend long!


Virtual Vendor Marketplace

If you’re ready for some shopping, stroll through our Virtual Vendor Marketplace. No crowds and no lines this year! Note the buttons at the top where you can filter your selections by category (including “New Vendors” and “Maryland Vendors”), letter of the alphabet, or both at once. Be sure to use the “See All/Clear Selection” button if you are switching back and forth between the two, or you might just find yourself looking at only Woodcrafts vendors who start with a “W”! If you remember your favorite vendors by where they are located, or want to follow your usual route, you can take a peek back at the “By Location” section of last year’s Vendor Locator Guide.

The Festival makes up a large percentage of the yearly income for many of our vendors, so please shop generously — you will find many of them are offering special deals and discounts for the weekend. We have included links to their social media accounts as well, so “like” them to show them your love year round. We will also leave the marketplace up until the end of the year, so you can come back whenever you want; just remember the discount codes are good for a limited time only.

We have curated a YouTube playlist of virtual booth tour videos made by some of our vendors that you might want to check out. Many vendors will also be livestreaming over the weekend; some of them are listed on this schedule, but I’m sure there will be many more. Some of our vendors will also be hanging out in the #MissingMaryland Facebook group.


Virtual Fleece Sale

It won’t quite be the same without the smell of freshly shorn wool and the feel of lanolin on your fingers, but our Virtual Fleece Sale has over seventy producers who have all kinds of fleeces for sale, and they will be very appreciative of your business in these difficult times. There is a link for each producer to the place online that you can view their fleeces, as well as instructions for how to make a purchase. The list can be filtered by color, fleece type (fine, medium, longwool, etc.) and breed, and some producers are offering special deals and discounts, too.


Online Swag Store

We are now taking advance orders for 2020 Festival Gear at sheepman.com/product-category/maryland-sheep-wool-festival-online/. How this will work — we will accept orders for one week. At the end of that time, we will turn the final counts over to our printing company. Working from home, they will begin the process of ordering the blank items so that the presses are ready to roll when non-essential businesses are allowed to reopen. Because we do not know when that will be, and what kind of delays may be encountered in getting the blanks, we are unable to estimate at this time when you will receive your merchandise. While we may order a few extra of each item to sell online afterwards, your best bet is to place your order during the May 2 – May 10 window.


Zoom with Us!

We have two zoom events planned:

  • Junior Spinning Contest – Saturday at 2:30 pm. Anyone under the age of 18 who has attempted the art of spinning and has access to a drop spindle, spinning wheel, or e-spinner and has a supply of fiber on hand is welcome to compete, and everyone is invited to join in and cheer them on. Use this link to  join the Zoom meeting or go to join.zoom.us and enter 891 4020 6760 as the meeting ID. You will be prompted to download and install Zoom if you haven’t already done so. A few things that will be “different” – contestants will need to measure their finished spinning, and be able to hold the yarn close enough to the camera for our judges to clearly see.
  • Saturday Night Spin-In – Saturday from 6:00-9:00. We should be able to accommodate 100 spinners. Here is the link to join the Zoom meeting, or go to join.zoom.us and enter 834 9049 1576 as the meeting ID.

Virtual Family Activities

Check out our Family Fun at Home page for activities the whole family can enjoy. We also have videos of the following classes that would have happened in our Family Activities Tent, suitable for all ages (including adults!):


Virtual Sheepdog Demos

Are the sheepdog demos your favorite part of the Festival? Nancy Starkey, our commentator for the Sheepdog Demonstrations, has put together this slideshow with a collection of scenes from previous sheepdog demonstrations.


Virtual Breed Display Barn

While you can’t stroll through the Breed Display Barn or watch the Parade of Breeds this year, you can still explore all the different breeds of sheep in The American Sheep Industry Association’s Breed Directory.


Support Our Instructors

We had a really great line-up of Fiber Arts Seminars booked for this year, and many of the classes had already sold out before we were forced to cancel the Festival. We invite you to read all about these talented people here. You will find links to their websites and online stores, information on where to buy their books, plus links to online tutorials and classes that they offer. Please support them in any way you can.


#showusyourentries

We know that people work very hard throughout the year on entries for our various competitions, so just for fun we started a campaign on Instagram to let people show off their entries using the hashtag #showusyourentries. We even have at least one entry in the new #creativeshearing contest!

Click on the hashtags above to see what has been entered. If you are interested in showing off your own entry, the instructions are in this post. No official judges or prizes, just a chance for you to share your work (and for people to vote for their favorites).


How you can help support the Festival

  • Buy merchandise in our Online Swag Store
  • Order a catalog – Orders will be accepted through Sunday night at mswf2020.eventbrite.com; after that you can download a form from our website and mail it with a check. We still have a lot of catalogs that would normally be given away at the Festival sitting on pallets at the fairgrounds, and we’d love to send you one (or more) instead of sending them to recycling
  • Make a donation – Donations can also be made through Sunday night at mswf2020.eventbrite.com; after that, you can also use the catalog order form to send a donation by mail. You can also donate via PayPal at https://paypal.me/MdSheepandWool. Please include “Donate” in the “Add a note” field.

Now sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy the virtual festival!

Information on 2021 Fiber Arts Seminars

Posted: December 5, 2020

For 2021, we will have our usual lineup of fabulous instructors, but all classes will held online as part of our larger virtual online festival. Class descriptions will be posted no later than February 1, with registration opening on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm EST.

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.

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

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)

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):

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.

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

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.

Information on 2021 Fiber Arts Seminars

Fiber Arts Seminars for 2021 will be held online!

Schedule of Events

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This is probably a good time to remind everyone that the Virtual Vendor Marketplace that we created for the 2020 virtual festival will remain up until after the holidays for your shopping pleasure. If you haven't checked it out, take a look! sheepandwool.org/2020-festival/shop-our-vendors/While the discount codes shown were for festival weekend only, some vendors are posting special discount codes for the holidays in our Online Community Facebook Group, www.facebook.com/groups/mswfOnlineCommunity. ... See MoreSee Less

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