News

Proposals for 2022 Fiber Arts Seminars now being accepted

Posted: June 15, 2021

We are now accepting proposals for fiber arts seminars to be held in conjunction with the 49th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will take place in person on May 7 & 8, 2022 in West Friendship, Maryland. Many seminars will be held Wednesday-Friday of the week leading up to the festival; all seminars will be held in person. The Fiber Arts Seminar Committee invites instructors from every heritage, culture, belief system, and lifestyle to submit a proposal.

Submit your proposal(s) here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 15.

2021 Festival Gear Now Available

Posted: April 6, 2021

2021 festival gear is now available in our online store!

T-Shirts – Sweatshirts – Tote Bags – Posters – Note Cards

Also available for in-store purchase at the Sheepman Supply showroom in Frederick, Maryland.

Your purchases help support the Festival.

Welcome to the 48th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Posted: May 1, 2021

We’re glad you are here to help us celebrate all things sheep and wool, staying home and staying safe until 2022. To get started, just go to our Virtual Festival Home Page, which has all the information you need to get started. No admission tickets, no log in, and no secret passwords needed!

For background information on why we made the move to a virtual festival, read this statement from December.

2021 Catalog Cover Artist

Posted: March 2, 2021

George Maurer

George Maurer’s name is well known to Maryland shepherds, and it’s not because of his artistic talent. Recently retired, George was a partner in the family meat processing business, Maurer & Miller Meats in Manchester, Maryland for more than three decades. George’s family moved to Maryland in 1960 from Kalamazoo, Michigan where his father worked at a meat packing plant. In 1962, George’s father incorporated Maurer & Miller Meats with his friend and fellow Marine Eugene F. Miller. In 1987, George, his brother Stephen, and his brother-in-law Tom Richards bought the business from his father, George J. Maurer. George patiently coached many local (and not-so-local) shepherds on raising the best possible lamb for the dinner table, however, working 12-hour days, sometimes six days a week, didn’t leave much time or energy to paint. Since his retirement, he has spent much of his time pursuing his passion for painting.

Photo by Kelly Heck Photography

In an article in the July 2020 edition of the Mason Dixon Surveyor, George said, “I don’t have any formal training, but I was interested since I was a kid”. He enjoyed art at North Carroll High where he graduated in 1971. “I never took an art course when I went to Frederick Community College, but I would always walk through the art building to see what they were doing.”

A turning point came when his daughter entered elementary school and Maurer started taking her to Barbara Schnell’s studio in Hampstead, Maryland. “My Mom knew that I like to draw so she signed me up for lessons,” says Amber Maurer Farran, who graduated from McDaniel College in 2009 with an degree in art. “It was mostly little kids in the basement—4th or 5th graders—and it was only an hour class.

“At first, my Dad waited in the car, but then he came in and started drawing, too.” George Maurer explains, “I’m not going to drop you off and come back to pick you up. The class wasn’t that long.” Father and daughter ended up painting together in Schnell’s basement all the way through middle and high school. When Amber eventually stopped going, he continued. “I think he was inspired by watching me paint,” she says, “and he started to paint the kill floor at the butcher shop. Paint what you know, right?”

George is intimately attuned to the natural environment, local agriculture, artisans, and trades which compete agribusiness. He is a member of the Carroll Arts Council. In January 2014, George and Amber had a show together at the Carroll Arts Center entitled “Meat the Maurers,” and in Spring 2019 they had another show together at Off Track Art in Westminster, Maryland entitled “More Than Meats the Eye.” George also has art hanging in Dutch Corner Restaurant in Manchester and he participates in the Annual CCAC Members Art Show.

See George’s Facebook page

 

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

Proposals for 2022 Fiber Arts Seminars now being accepted

We are now accepting proposals for fiber arts seminars to be held in conjunction with the 49th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will take place in person on May 7 & 8, 2022 in West Friendship, Maryland. Many seminars will be held Wednesday-Friday of the week leading up to the festival; all seminars will be held in person. The Fiber Arts Seminar Committee invites instructors from every heritage, culture, belief system, and lifestyle to submit a proposal.

Submit your proposal(s) here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 15.…

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