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For the week of May 9 through May 15, 2001

Chamber receives award for sheep festival

Express Staff Writer

The Wood River Valleyís Trailing of the Sheep Festival is now more than a local event. Itís a state-acclaimed local event.

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne on Friday recognized the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce with an Outstanding Cultural Tourism award for the chamber-coordinated annual event, which highlights parading sheep through downtown Ketchum.

The award is presented to a project or event that "best showcases Idahoís cultural tourism offerings," according to the stateís eligibility standards.

Kempthorne presented eight awards to individuals and organizations around the state who engage in promoting tourism and recreation in Idaho.

"I thank all the winners of the 2001 Take Pride in Idaho Awards for their tireless efforts at promoting tourism and recreation in the state of Idaho," Kempthorne said. "These individuals and groups represent the best Idaho has to offer, and they are a big reason why tourism is a $1.7 billion dollar industry."

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival began in 1997 as a way to recognize and celebrate the history and culture of the men and women in Idahoís sheep industry. The Wood River Valley was once one of the largest sheep-shipping locations in the world.

"Itís a wonderful honor," chamber executive director Carol Waller said. "The event is definitely growing. I think the attendance doubled between last year and this year."

Waller pointed out that the event is a cooperative effort among a number of local organizations, including the Hailey Chamber of Commerce and the College of Southern Idaho.

Cultural and heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of United States travel, Waller pointed out. Thatís probably helping the young Trailing of the Sheep Festival, approaching its seventh year.

In 2000, about 3,000 visitors and local residents took part in the sheep festival activities.


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