THE 2002 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was held Saturday and Sunday at the Howard County Fairgrounds -- and a marvelous show it was. Visitors could see sheep-shearing demonstrations and sheep dogs working, smell lamb and funnel-cake cooking, and watch spinners and weavers work their treadles and shuttles.
There were sheep and wool exhibitors, sheep shows, vendors, craft booths, food and live music. Most things concerning the sheep industry could be found.
Tamara Dyer of Ellicott City enjoys her yearly trips to the festival. "Since I'm a spinner, I have a special interest," Dyer said. "If you get the yen to try spinning, there are lots of cheap spindles and small bags of wool," she added. Dyer's daughter, Ann Marie, 15, bought a spindle and some brightly colored wool for her projects.
A highlight of this year's festival was a booth staffed by Mayan women from Guatemala who demonstrated weaving on backstrap looms. The looms are simple devices composed of five sticks and a belt that passes behind the weaver. The weaver adjusts the tension of the loom by leaning forward or back.
Kneeling on the ground, the three colorfully dressed women demonstrated weaving huipiles (blouses), listones (headdresses) and fajas (belts) using techniques their ancestors have used for centuries.
Judi Lehrhaupt and Janet Rose of Ewe Can Do It Shetland Sheep Farm in Newtown, Pa., have visited the Sheep and Wool Festival since 1997. "We've entered fleeces in the fleece competition and sold fleeces [at the festival] as well," Lehrhaupt said. "We've also taken classes there."
But this year, the pair decided to attend to visit with other Shetland sheep lovers. "There are always wonderful things to buy, and it's nice to touch base with the vendors we use on a regular basis," she said.
Alpacas and llamas are used for their fleece, and a number of the graceful, long-necked animals were at the festival. This is the second year Kate Perez of Mount Airy Alpaca Co. had a booth at the show. The booth, Three Farms Alpaca, is shared with two other businesses -- Alpacas on the Hill from Westminster and Hill Home Alpacas from Woodbine.
"We had record crowds at the festival this year," Perez said. "We sold a great deal of merchandise." That included raw alpaca fleeces for hand-spinners, hand-spun yarns, sweaters, hats, scarves and alpaca teddy bears.
The festival is held yearly on the first full weekend in May. With free admission and parking, you could bring the whole family -- and your neighbors and friends.
"This is one of the more fun, family-oriented and low-key events in Howard County," Dyer said.
The Glenelg Bands and the school's Marching Unit won 16 awards at the National Festival of Music in Myrtle Beach, S.C., April 18 to 21.
The Symphonic Band won Best Overall Concert Band, along with first place in its division and the Best Sight-Reading award. The Jazz Ensemble won Best Overall Jazz Band, and won in its division and for sight-reading.
The Jazz Ensemble won outstanding section awards for saxophone, trumpet, trombone and rhythm. Mike Feagans was recognized as the best soloist of the festival.
In the parade competition, the Marching Unit won its division and was named Best Overall. The Silks and Drill Team won awards in their divisions, with the Drill Team winning the award for Best Auxiliary Unit in parade.
Directors Barry Enzman, Diane Bissell and Terry Newsome led the groups.
The Clarksville Elementary School "Spring Fling" has become a yearly tradition. Check it out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Something of interest will be available for every age group. Play the games and raffles or try your luck at the cakewalk and the silent auction. Plants will be for sale, and face- and nail-painting will be available for young people. Turner, Dean of Magic, will perform, and gymnastic and martial arts demonstrations and a visit from a Ravens mascot are planned.
Food will include Famous Dave's barbecue, nachos from Don Pablo's restaurant, pizza, hot dogs, snowballs and cotton candy.
Nearly 50 members of River Hill High School's chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) participated in the Maryland FBLA State Leadership Conference on April 18, 19 and 20.
The chapter captured the conference championship for the second year in a row. River Hill received 10 first-place awards. Senior Matt Ulan, who is the River Hill chapter vice president, reports that sophomore Andy Acs became the group's state parliamentarian by receiving the highest score in the state on a parliamentary procedures test. Teresa Waters is adviser to the group.
"After being founded only four years ago, our chapter of FBLA continues to reach new heights," Matt said.