Sheep and Wool Festival
Once upon a time, this festival was just an idea in the minds of a handful of shepherds. In 1997, the varied fibers of small flock owners were not what the big mills were looking for so, a small group of dedicated wool enthusiasts and shepherds decided to sit bravely in the spring cold, with bags of fresh fleeces, willing to speak to any fiber customer who would listen.
Through the years, many dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to sustain and support this little festival. Many vendors, teachers and visitors come every year creating a rich history and tradition for sheep and wool lovers in the region. But it’s the dedication, curiosity and passion of the entire community that has sustained it through the years and woven the rich tapestry of talent we celebrate each year. Families can enjoy a hands on exploration of sheep breeds, try out classes in simple and extraordinary textile arts and show the richly colored, useful goods crafted by these artists and farmers. Learn how to grow your own socks, spin your own sweaters and turn the fleece of one sheep into self-made heirlooms for your whole family.
Self –proclaimed fiber fanatics can meet the shepherds who work all year to bring you the freshest, finest, locally grown wool. Build your skills in fleece preparation, hand-spinning, natural dyes, felting, weaving, rug-hooking and more. Enter your own handiwork in the handspun and felting competitions and soak up this annual gathering of tools, trade and tradition.
For more information, go to shepherdsharvestfestival.org
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds – Lake Elmo, MN Intersection of County Rd 15 & State Hwy 5
Cost: Adults: $5.00 Children (0-8): Free Parking: Free
Fiber Animals Get a firsthand look at a wide variety of sheep breeds, including Lincoln Longwool, Shetland, Coopworth, Leicester, American Awassi, and Black Welsh Mountain sheep, as well as cashmere goats, dairy goats, rabbits, and a Llama obstacle course.
Fleece Competition There are a great variety of types of fleece. For judging, they are placed in different groups according to color, white or natural colored, and grade, or fiber diameter, into fine, medium or long wools. There will also be a purebred class for each breed where the fleece is judged according to breed standards.
Stock Dog Trials The Trial will be similar to ranch-style, fun obstacle course that consists of a short outrun, lift and fetch, wearing the sheep through obstacles, and a pen. There will be a course time and all three sheep will need to complete elements for full points. The Stock Dog Trial runs begin at 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday.
Rabbit Show A “living catalog” of fiber-producing rabbits will be on display. These include English Angora, French Angora, Giant Angora, Jersey Woolies, Satin Angora, and Fuzzy Lop. Visitors will have the opportunity to compare these animals side-by-side and see the variety of sizes, as well as fiber types.
Fleece Preparation Demonstration How do you wash that fleece you just bought? Washing is the first step in preparing your fleece for spinning and we will show you how to do that.
Classes, Demonstrations and Exhibits Over 35 classes to build your skills in fleece preparation, hand-spinning, natural dyes, felting, weaving, rug-hooking and more.
Over 130 Vendors Endless shopping for fiber crafts including; rugs, slippers, hats, jewelry, dyed yarn, fleece, spinning wheels and more.