Sheep, wool focus of fest this weekend in Howard

Regional

April 30, 2004|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

All things sheep-related - from herding to weaving to cooking - will be on display at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which returns to the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship this weekend.

Visitors can enjoy classes, demonstrations, contests, music and shopping from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

New this year, the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Mass., will set up an exhibit of bedding from its collection. Museum staff will give free seminars twice a day. Blankets will also be the subject of the new Mamie Francis Blanket Competition, which includes a $500 prize for the best entry.

Spinners, weavers and knitters can enjoy workshops throughout the weekend, an auction of spinning and weaving equipment tomorrow, and the annual sheep-to-shawl contest on Sunday morning. In that event, teams shear a sheep, spin the wool and weave a garment in three hours.

Anyone interested in how sheep are raised can attend several sheep shows, a lamb auction, and shearing and sheepdog demonstrations.

There will also be opportunities to sample lamb as a culinary treat, including junior and senior division lamb cookoffs.

The festival started 31 years ago to promote sheep and wool, said Leslie Bauer, a festival spokeswoman. "It was a very small group of people at the time," she said. "We've just grown over the years."

Organizers expect 50,000 to 60,000 visitors over the two days. More than 250 vendors are scheduled to attend.

A complete schedule of events is available online at www.sheepandwoolfestival.org.

Information: 410-531-3647.

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