Friday, October 5, 2007

Peruvian consul expected for sheep festival

Trailing of the Sheep will be Oct. 12-14

Express Staff Writer

Guido Loayza, Peruvian Consul General in Denver. Photo courtesy Peruvian Consulate, Washington, D.C.

The Peruvian Consul General based in Denver says he plans to come to the Wood River Valley for this month's Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

This year's 11th annual festival will honor the Peruvian culture that sheepherders from that country have brought with them as they tend flocks in Idaho and other Western states.

"I hope I will be (there)," said Consul General Guido Loayza in a telephone interview last week. Loayza, who has been in diplomatic posts representing his country in Europe and Asia, just arrived in the United States in August, the first time he has been here.

Loayza said he has been invited by festival organizers to attend the event, which will take place in Hailey and Ketchum from Oct. 12 to Oct. 14. The event honors the area's sheep ranching heritage, which began when pioneer John Hailey first brought sheep to the valley in the 1860s. It honors the ongoing historic tradition of moving herds from their summer pastures in the mountains north of Ketchum to winter desert grazing lands.

"This is a great opportunity for the Peruvians to confirm their participation in these activities ... they introduced their customs and the way they practice the same activities in our country," said Loayza.

"It will be a great opportunity because the reception of the people of Idaho of Peruvian sheepherders is remarkable," he said.

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