Yesterday I went to my first wool and sheep festival: the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I survived the trip down (~1 hr 40 min) and had no clue how big this event is. The stream of cars from VA, PA, NY, DE, NJ, and elsewhere made it easy to negotiate the last few miles, which had me worried, since there were several legs of only a few tenths of a mile but that had me turning at every leg.
The weather was perfect. It was coolish and overcast until about noon, when the sun came out and made it a bit warmer than I was ready for. In fact, I drove down in shorts and ended up changing into jeans in the car, which was an interesting maneuver.
I was much more interested in checking out the sheep at first, and put off buying until a bit later. When I slipped in my first patch of sheep poo, I was taken by surprise; however, it was a reminder about what it's all about: the animals. After all, happy, healthy sheep make the best wool, and that's what we were all there for.
(Well, some were there for meat, but I can't even think about that. I'm not a vegetarian [I'm a dessertarian], but the idea of eating lamb while petting sheep just leaves me cold. But that's just me.)
I just loved seeing all the sheep -- and alpacas, too. I approached the sheep that didn't seem skittish and held out my hand (back side up, fingers together, in the approved fashion for dogs, which is as close as I've ever been to livestock. Well, except for Pete the cow; but that's a different story). Each one was very gentle and sniffed my hand. There was no "lipping," like you often get with horses. I just was struck by their calm demeanor and willingness to adapt to the strange surroundings. (Remember, these were the calm ones. The skittish ones were not at all happy to be there. There was just one sheep that was cranky, and he was about to butt me when he remembered that there were metal bars between us. I got the message, though.
The festival was a wonderful experience. The cleanliness of the bathrooms helped offset the ridiculously long lines (for the women's room, of course). Sadly, I had to give all the classic festival food a miss, thanks to a rebellious stomach, but it all smelled wonderful.
And the shopping? It was too, too wonderful! Thank goodness I've been working so hard at all my freelancing, so that I had cash I could spend without feeling any guilt or remorse. Quite the opposite! I'll post pictures of everything that followed me home from MS&W next time. Right now, I have another freelance job to work on. Hmm. I wonder when and where the next festival will be ... after all, I'll have more freelance money with which to stimulate the economy!
By the way, according to my 10-year-old, I spent the day yesterday at a "wool concert." Gotta love it!