A Woolly Good Weekend

The came, they saw, and for the 17th year straight, they won the hearts of the Wood River Valley. This past weekend at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival, the woolly stars of the show and the lifestyle they represent took center stage up and down the Valley culminating in Sunday's festive parade through Ketchum.

The stars of the show on Sunday making their way down Main Street in Ketchum

Depending on your proclivities, the weekend was all about enjoying savory and inventive lamb dishes at every turn, exploring the rich history of this region, enjoying live entertainment and family fun, or all of the above. Beneath sunny autumnal skies and surrounded by aspen trees in full golden bloom, there was something for everyone during this four day fest.

Saturday's Folklife Fair was a feast for the senses

Our enjoyment of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival took a group of six children to Hailey on Saturday to take in the sights, smells and sounds of the Folklife Fair.There was much to do and plenty of time to do it. We started off the adventure by watching the shearing of sheep, complete with a detailed explanation of how it is done, why it is done, when it is done. All the kids loved this.

The history, tradition, craft and food culture surrounding sheep was on display all weekend long

A leisurely stroll around the fair provided ample additional opportunities to see craftspeople in action. We watched ladies spin wool on traditional machines and then saw the colorful end products: skeins for sale and wool woven into colorful scarves and hats and sweaters.

Traditional tools and hand-crafted products reminded onlookers of the value of doing things the old-fashioned way?

We were also lucky to catch the performance by the Hot Club of Cowtown from Austin, Texas. Headliners at the Sheepherder's Ball Saturday night, this red-hot western swing trio also performed for free at the fair. Although most people were enjoying a wonderful picnic of lamb-inspired dishes when the group took the stage, many put down their plates to dance. The music was irresistible.


The Hot Club of Cowtown got everyone out of their seats at the Folklife Festival before performing two concerts Saturday night

Numerous other performances provided both a backdrop and a focal point to the day's festivities and included bagpipers, Basque dancers and artists from many other traditions.

On Sunday, the big show was in Ketchum when the Trailing of the Sheep parade came to town. As live music and dancers entertained down Main Street, the large audience eagerly anticipated the stars of the show: the sheep. When they pranced and ran and jumped down the street, expertly managed by sheepdogs and handlers, cries of delight went out among the crowd.

Though the sheep made their way south after the parade, they left smiles behind that lingered all day

Trailing of the Sheep weekend allows both visitors and locals alike to enjoy the area's rich heritage and history in a hands-on and meaningful way. If you've never been here in October to enjoy this event, get it on your calendar for next year. It’s a winner!


This sheep trailer had all the comforts of home and our group gave it a resounding thumbs up


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