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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Start saving up your money for a yarn splurge because the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is May 5th and 6th, 2007 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. Maybe you don't want to buy a sheep (it probably be energy efficent for your lawn), but there is a lot more to see and do at Sheep and Wool.
This is the 34th annual Sheep and Wool . Nope, I haven't attended all 33 of them;) But I have attended a lot of them and generally enjoy myself immensely. There's lots of yarn and animals (llamas, alpacas and rabbits as well as sheep) and lots of friendly people willing to show you various techniques.
If you intend to go, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. There is a good deal of walking on sometimes uneven surfaces and it's not the place for your stilleto heels - unless you're comfortable in them. Make sure you take a hat or sunglasses or something to block the sun - generally it's a warm (bordering on hot) sunny day and you will need the shade. Sunscreen is a good idea, but I always forget to bring it or if I bring it, I forget to use it.
No pets are allowed at Sheep and Wool. The only dogs allowed are service dogs. They are very strict about that rule. So if your dog is not a service dog, please keep him/her home. It can get very hot in a car and generally it's not a dog's idea of a good time to be cooped up in a hot car all day.
Bring cash as well as plastic. Lots of vendors take plastic, some don't. And some have minimum amounts you have to charge on your plastic. You may just want one of those fork recipe holders for a few bucks, so it's just easier to have the cash. You might want to take address labels or an ink pen with you - some places have sign ups for their mailing lists and you might want to join them.
I'd advise bringing a large bag. You might even want to tuck some water or a snack in it. Yes, you can buy the festival bag with the cover art on it at Sheep and Wool. But it's usually a tremendously long line to get one. And don't worry, if you don't get a chance to buy one at the festival (or the t-shirts /jackets /mugs), you can buy it online after the festival. That gives you a bit more money to spend.
The book you are given when you go into the festival has a map in it. You can check out and decide where you want to visit first. I usually walk up and down the aisles in the same way each year. Sometimes there are returning vendors in the same spot. One display that always amazes me, no matter how much I see it, is the woman spinning the angora yarn right off the bunny. The bunny is so docile while she gently plucks the fur and spins it.
Don't worry, there's a lot more types of yarn than just wool. There are some amazing hand dyed skeins that will just knock your socks off - well, at least they knock_my_socks off. There is almost any kind of yarn you might want to buy, yes, even Red Heart. I got a bag full of chenille for $5 one year, all it needed to be untangled. If you are interested in spinning your own yarn, they have bags of roving. It's a total yarn experience.
If you go, you might want to make a list of books you want - I always find something new there. Plus you don't have to special order it or pay postage and handling. Or you can look them over and think "hey, maybe I don't want this after all".
There are places to eat and drink at the festival. They sell lamb burgers, as well as regular burgers, fries, ice cream, the usual festival stuff. I think they even sell a deep fried Twinkie, or they did at one time. I'm definitely not that adventurous in the food department.

So there you are, all sorts of info on Maryland Sheep and Wool. Did I mention it is free admission and free parking?
here's the link:


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