Sheep to Shawl Festival on May Day to Celebrate New England Heritage

Celebration of New England in the Spring

Sheep to Shawl Festival in Wlliamstown this weekend will focus on historic fleece & fiber. Demos of shearing with traditional tools, carding, pinning and weaving. Sheep herding with boarder collies. Old-time toys and games for the kids. And much more! (Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (WRLF) will host its annual Sheep to Shawl Festival at its Sheep Hill headquarters in Williamstown Saturday, May 1st from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

The festival is a celebration of spring and our New England heritage, with time-honored crafts and artisans, farm animals, and a focus on the region’s historic fleece and fiber industry. For the 7th year, sheep return to Sheep Hill, and the legendary Fred DePaul will spin stories while shearing with traditional tools. Denise Leonard and Kristen Whittle will demonstrate sheep herding with border collies. These amazing dogs will delight visitors as they herd not only sheep but Indian Runner Ducks up the steep meadows of Sheep Hill. Area farms will bring llamas, alpacas and other livestock for viewing and petting, and local farm products for sale. Barnwright Shaun Garvey will demonstrate the traditional building techniques he used to restore the barns at Sheep Hill.

The Green Mountain Weavers & Spinners Guild will demonstrate carding, spinning, and weaving throughout the day. Fiber artists and other local artisans will show and sell their wares. Local artists will be painting En Plein Air and demonstrating their skills at capturing the Sheep Hill landscape.

Volunteers are busy installing a wood floor in the newly renovated Horse Barn in time to open the traditional Soup Kitchen. Children’s activities sponsored by the Williamstown House of Local History will include period costumes for children to try on, and old-time toys and games. There will be fiber-arts crafts and other activities for children and enthusiastic adults.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate. Non-member tickets prices are $5 per individual and $10 per family. WRLF members pay $3 per individual and $6 per family. Buy a one-year WRLF membership at the gate for free admission! All are welcome to enter their admission tickets in a Sheep to Shawl raffle for a handmade prize. Proceeds from the Sheep to Shawl Festival support the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (www.wrlf.org) and its public programming.

Free parking will be available at the highway pull-off just north of the center, and at the Antiques Warehouse just south of the Sheep Hill entrance.

ABOUT WRLF

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is a non-profit, member-supported land conservation trust working to preserve the rural New England character of the north Berkshire region. It offers programs in natural and cultural history year-round at Sheep Hill and other conservation properties. Sheep Hill is located on Route 7 approximately one mile south of the Williamstown rotary. Look for the sign on the west side of the road. Sheep to Shawl is funded in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a program of the MA Cultural Council. For more information, visit our website at http://www.wrlf.org or call Sheep Hill at 413-458-2494.

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