Lovers of the outdoors, livestock and fiber arts will have a great time at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival. This year’s festival takes place May 6 & 7, 2017 (8:30AM – 6PM Saturday, 8:30AM – 5PM Sunday) at Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, MD. (We have a free Howard County vacation guide to help you plan your trip!)
Back in 1974, the first “Sheep and Wool Crafts Festival” took place at the Carroll County Fairgrounds by the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association. The founding hope for the festival was to educate, provide entertainment, and support the association itself. School kids were taught how wool was harvested then turned into yarns and fabrics.
Since then, the MD Sheep and Wool Festival has blossomed into an annual regional fixture, introducing new generations to the husbandry and fiber arts that come from it.
Entering its 44th year, this year the admission fee is $5.00 per day and applies to adults only; everyone under 18 will be admitted free. Tickets may be purchased in advance at https://sheepandwool.eventbrite.com. A processing fee of $1.24 per ticket will be added.
One of the most fun things about the festival, besides the animals themselves, is the creativity. Throughout the MD Sheep and Wool Festival, fiber arts demonstrations will invite you into the fascinating world of wool.
Held in the Rabbit Barn anytime between 9:00 a.m. and noon and between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the free demonstrations may include:
Spinning (on a spinning wheel, on a drop spindle, on a supported spindle, or on a charkha), Weaving, Hand Knitting, Crochet, Sock Machine Knitting, Flat and/or Double Bed Knitting, Tatting, Bobbin Lace, Needlepoint, Needlefelting, and Embroidery Embellishment. You can also see, in an ongoing demonstration, spinning fiber directly from angora rabbits.
Held at the Howard County Fairgrounds, the MD Sheep and Wool Festival offers a wide variety of fair-style food concession booths throughout the grounds. From ribbon chips to ice cream, gyros to cotton candy, there is plenty to snack on.
There are also food booths throughout the grounds serving mouth-watering lamb dishes, from lamburgers and leg of lamb sandwiches to gyros and lamb sausages. For a veggie-friendly option, check out Artichoke French!
This year you can enjoy a sit-down meal by purchasing tickets for either the Saturday Shepherds Feast or the Sunday Breakfast Buffet. Pre-registration is required. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.
Or you can take a taste of the festival home with you—without having to buy your own sheep, that is. The Home Arts Building is a shop featuring fresh Maryland lamb — primal cuts, leg of lamb, leg steaks, loin chops, rack of lamb, lamb patties, lamb sausage — as well as sheep’s milk cheese, goat’s milk cheese, and local honey.
Or this year’s Festival Farm Market outdoors near the main gate will also feature local pasture raised lamb cuts and other edible goodies. There will be entertainment, and cooking demonstrations, too! Bring your cooler and become part of the farm-to-fork (or pasture-to-plate) movement!
We’d love to host you at the nearby Wayside Inn during your weekend at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival. Our free Howard County vacation guide can help you plan your stay! Our inn, located in historic Ellicott City, is convenient to the festival. Our breakfasts are hearty and delicious, and our location is prime. We hope to see you in May!