Spinning a Few Yarns

A visit to the Sheep and Wool festival

On a spectacular Saturday this month, thousands of people spilled into the barns and byways of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck to gaze and touch and compete and learn about wool and the wooly creatures that provide it.

Over two days, the 39th annual New York State Sheep and Wool festival had something for novices and experts alike, including a drop-spindle spinning contest, a Northeast Angora goat show (with the contestants judged “still wearing their mohair”), a llama parade, an auction of farm implements and sheep dog herding demonstrations.

Equally alluring were the hundreds of stalls displaying knitwear, fiber arts and everything one could imagine relating to wool-producing animals. Loopy Mango of Beacon was on hand, along with sellers from as far away as Montana.


Man: “What’s his name?
Alpaca handler: “Prince Caspian.”
Man: “He’s so handsome.”
Alpaca handler: “I know.”

Woman, about her border collie: “I could dangle a steak bone in front of her and get no response. She’s got nothing but the sheep on her mind.”

First woman: “Did you buy a lot?”
Second woman: “I went over budget, and my budget wasn’t small.”

From a crossword in the program:
4 Down: The other name for Walliser Schwarznasenschaf
9 Across: Mechanical process that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web for further processing

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