Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sheep Folklife Fair celebrates all things woolen

Event features dancers, music, food and craft competition

Express Staff Writer

The Sheep Folklife Fair in Hailey has lots of attractions for kids. Photo by Mountain Express

As the last sheep of summer are herded from the mountains north of Ketchum and out of the Wood River Valley this weekend, a celebration of sheep-ranching culture will be taking place in Hailey.

The Sheep Folklife Fair, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Roberta McKercher Park, is a showcase of the musical heritage, arts and crafts, and food of several sheep-focused societies around the world.

Musicians and dancers from Peru, Scotland and the Basque region of Spain will perform at the fair. All these cultures have very old traditions of sheep herding and wool working.

There will also be sheep wagon displays, arts-and-crafts vendors and lamb delicacies prepared by valley chefs and restaurants. Regional artisans will provide demonstrations of wool shearing, carding, spinning and weaving. There will also be children's activities and, for the first time this year, a wool show competition with prizes in each class.

Traditional Peruvian musicians and dancers will perform Andean music and dance, featuring pan flute, acoustic guitar, drums and other traditional instruments.

The Boise Highlanders, the oldest Scottish bagpipe and drumming band in Idaho, now celebrating its 50th year, will raise the pipes on Saturday dressed in traditional tartan kilts. Scottish dancers will accompany the stirring music.


The Oinkari Basque dancers of Boise, also celebrating 50 years of cultural music and dance, will be in Hailey on Saturday, fresh from a recent trip to the World Expo in Shanghai, China. Oinkari means dancer in Euskera, the Basque language.

New this year at the Sheep Folklife Fair will be a Fiber Fest with workshops, competitions and demonstrations. The ladies from Magic Valley Spinners and Weavers Guild along with fiber artist Lonna Steele will demonstrate the arduous process required to get to the finished product, from skirting and washing to carding and dyeing.

There will be many opportunities throughout the day for adults and children to have a hands-on experience with the ancient art of wool making, including felting and spinning. Wool products of all kinds will be for sale.

A Fleece Show and Sale will feature Duane Gallinger from The Sheep Shed in Nampa. He will share his 80 years of experience as he guides visitors on the ins and outs of fleeces.

There will also be a Skein Competition, in which people wrap loops of yarn spun from various types of fiber, judged by fiber artist Lonna Steele. Prizes will be awarded for the first place winners in each class. To learn more about the competition, contact Julie Noh at (208) 731-0090.

Tony Evans:

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