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Fairgrounds Hosts 2017 NYS Sheep & Wool Family Festival October 21 and 22!

The Northeast's thriving sheep industry is showcased and celebrated each year in the family-friendly Sheep & Wool Festival.  And there's more here than sheep, llamas, alpacas, and their luscious fibers. The kids will want to check out the petting zoo, hay maze, and other children’s activities. Mom and dad can opt for the specialty food and wine tastings. By the time you add in great fair food for lunch, it will be time to go home and you’ll start counting the days until the 2018 Festival. See below for info on a train and bus transportation package from Grand Central Terminal.

Your day includes nearly 300 fiber artists and craftsmen presenting goods from sweaters to cell phone and tablet covers! Knitters can purchase skeins of yarn, natural dyes, spinning wheels, looms and such. Others will be drawn to the hand-crafted wool clothing, fleece coats, baby blankets, mittens, socks, angora scarves, even jewelry and glassware with sheep motifs and hundreds of unique items. There’s a bag check to store your purchases without having to walk to the parking lot to lighten your load, so you might as well start your holiday shopping early!

Competitions and Shows are the heart of the festival which features hundreds of sheep, llamas and alpacas, as well as Angora and Cashmere goats, a fleece show and sale. This marks the 21st year for the annual Angora Goat Show on Saturday at 10:30 am for both registered white and naturally colored goats. The show’s "In and Out" category has goats being shown "In" their fleece. Then they’re sheared at night and shown again Sunday "Out" of their fleece, which is judged "in the bag." The three scores are tallied and the highest wins! Discover why this is such a viable industry in Dutchess and New York State, with two days of exceptional livestock shows.

Sunday only, head for Building 34 to catch the Leaping Lama Contest! See these 6 foot lamas challenge each other and defy gravity! Who will leap the highest? Who will take home the first place ribbon? Get there early for the Llama Parade! Located in Building E, the Festival Art Contest showcases the top entries. Stop by, view the submissions and vote for your favorite. Also check out the Fiber Art Contests.

Children’s programs abound both days of the festival; favorite activities include the Canine Frisbee demos and Herding Dog demos by herding dogs, whose ability to be trained to act on the sound of a whistle or word command is renowned. DOnt miss the fiberflame craft activities, and the Mad Science Show. There are also youth -skein, -handmade item, and -spinning wheel contests.

Book Signing & Conversations is a collaboration between Merritt Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Millbrook, and the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival. Search by author, instructor, exhibitor, vendor and more with the scheduling tool as there are plenty of author events!

Demonstrations include amazing cooking demonstrations by professional chefs in the Harvest Kitchen in the Building E all weekend. Specialty foods and wine tastings are presented in the same building and add to the continuous culinary choices. Dozens of food vendors present everything from lamb stew to shish kabobs to hot fudge sundaes. Fiber Arts demos and Sheep Shearing demos round out the day. Sheep need to be sheared because they do not shed their wool. Most breeds are sheared once a year. Shearing doesn’t hurt the sheep. It’s similar to getting a haircut and keeps them cooler in hot weather. It’s also the time to ‘harvest’ the wool fiber used to make yarn for crafts and commercial manufacturing.

No car? No problem. Travelers from New York City via Metro-North railroad can take advantage of our Farm Fresh Shuttle by first reserving through our website, click here to reserve. Then purchase the Metro-North One Day Getaway package that includes your train ticket and shuttlebus transportation to and from the Fairgrounds and back to Grand Central Terminal. To check out other Farm Fresh itineraries click here

One of the Northeast’s truly unique events, NYS Sheep and Wool Festival hours are 9am to 5pm on Saturday, October 21 and from 9am to 4pm on Sunday, October 22. Admission is $12 at the gate and children under 12 are admitted free. Weekend passes are $17. Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $9 (+$1.50 fee). Group Ticket Discounts available for 25 or more tickets: $9 tickets + 2 complimentary tickets for tour leader and bus driver.

The festival started out as a bred ewe sale by area shepherds in 1980. Like all fertile ideas, it has blossomed into what you read about now in the New York Times.

Great news! This year, there’s a vendor renting mobility scooters and wheelchairs. See a festival map to plan your day. Tag your shared photos and tweets #nysheepwool2017. Please leave your pets at home.

Find out why this event draws 30,000 visitors from across the country to the lovely village of Rhinebeck! For info on the venue and directions visit Dutchess County Fairgrounds, which is located at 6550 Spring Brook Ave./Route 9 in Rhinebeck, 12572 or call 845-876-4000.

 

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