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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 9 - 15, 2002

Arts and Entertainment

Sheep Fest 
kicks off Friday

Express Arts Editor

Given the diverse economy of the Wood River Valley today, it is hard to imagine the place as the sheep center it was in the early 1900s, second only to Sydney, Australia. And every autumn since then, the sheepherders have moved the flocks from summer pastures north of Ketchum to the warmer climes of the southern deserts.

This tradition is honored every year with the celebration of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival, held this year Friday through Sunday. A weekend of festivities is capped off with the Sunday afternoon Trailing of the Sheep Parade, when hundreds of sheep are herded down Main Street in Ketchum and then south along Highway 75. Historic sheep wagons, Oinkari Basque dancers and the Boise Highlanders bagpipers will usher the animals on their journey.

Photo courtesy Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce

Events begin Friday afternoon with a series of workshops on subjects such as cooking lamb, weaving and working with wool, and collecting and saving family histories. The evening program features sheep poetry and music in an ancient form of entertainment called berisolari at the American Legion Hall in Ketchum. Two Basque poets, Martin Goikoetxea and Jesus Goni, will compete by creating improvisational poems. The poets sing the poems in rhyme and in a specific meter.

Also participating in the evening will be Heather Parkinson, author of "Across Open Ground." She will read from her novel, which is about a young sheepherder in the Wood River Valley living just prior to World War I.

Sam Jackson, a festival regular, rounds out the program with his "wooly verse."

A sheep Folklife Fair will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey. Local artisans and food vendors will set up booths, and sheep herding demonstrations will be given. There will be children’s workshops, and traditional Basque games. And the annual Basque lamb dinner will be offered throughout the day at St. Charles Catholic Church in Hailey.

That evening, John Peavey, who owns one of the oldest sheep ranches in the region, will offer a storytelling session at the American Legion Hall in Ketchum. The Polish Highlanders of North America are special guests. They will perform the dance of their ancestors from the Tatra Mountains of Southern Poland.

In conjunction with the festival, the Intermountain Stock Dog Association will host the Western States Regional Championship Sheep Dog Trial at the Idaho Cutters’ facility in Hailey. Fifty-five handler-and-dog teams from eight Western states will compete. Handler and dog will have to gather and drive the sheep, then sort out the five with collars and herd those sheep into a pen.

The times and places for the events are published in the Trailing of the Sheep special section in today’s paper.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.