Last week Matt helped me prepare for the Sheep and Wool Festival. The Sheep and Wool Festival is a weekend long celebration of all things sheep. There are crafts, yarn, wool, wool products, meat, cheese, clothing, and actual sheep for sale. It is the one place you can go to take classes on how to raise sheep, heard sheep, shear sheep, and actually buy your own flock of sheep. It is also the one place that you can watch sheep being judged while actually eating sheep (kinda dark, really).
Matt and I try to go to the festival each year. It’s not that either of us knit, crochet, or own any actual sheep, but we like the vibe. You get to see everyone from your stereotypical grandmother, to hipster girls covered in tattoos, to men with green and blue mohawks wearing kilts. You get to see people from rural, suburban, and urban areas and people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. There is live music and carnival food as well. People come as far as Ontario to enjoy the festival.
Last year, Matt convinced me to submit some of my photos and a pastel painting to the art contest and to my surprise three out of four of my pieces placed. That was the first time I have ever showed any of my art publicly. It was quite the confidence boost to have my work recognized as worthy of recognition. Feeling emboldened from last year, I decided to submit my work again.
Again, this is where Matt and my collaborations work together. Without Matt pushing me, I wouldn’t have submitted my art. And this year, because I had cropped certain photos to emphasize certain aspects of the image, I wouldn’t have been able to submit. You see, Matt is great at measuring, constructing, and drawing straight lines. In art school, I couldn’t draw a square to save my life. It was Matt’s willingness to create the matting for me that allowed me to submit my work.
This year, we went to the festival with our neighbors Gaby and Brian. They had never been to the festival before, but knew that lots of other people they knew would be going. In fact, they even were able to meet up with a couple of friends of theirs.
It was fun watching Gaby’s face as she saw all the sheep and the angora rabbits. She also told us some fun stories about her French-speaking mother and how she referred to shearing sheep as “peeling the sheep.” She also got to actually see a sheep shearing demonstration and a sheep herding demonstration with herding dogs.
Brooke and PWW met us at the festival. It was a shame that they came just after the sheep herding demo, as I am sure PWW would have loved to see the border collies herding the small flock of sheep. She was able to see the sheep shearing, and was allowed to touch some of the freshly sheered wool. She seemed to really enjoy seeing all the different breeds of sheep and getting to pet the all as well.
In regards to this year’s photo competition? I was awarded a first and second place ribbon in one category and a third-place ribbon in another. Winning anything at all, I consider to be huge since the only opportunity I have to take photos of sheep is actually at the Sheep and Wool Festival. This is in stark contrast to all the other competitors, who mostly live on farms with their own flocks.
All in all, it was a great day. If you haven’t been to the Sheep and Wool Festival, you should add it to your to-do list for next year. It is loads of fun.