Held on the first full weekend in May each year
Huge crowds always turn out the first full week-end of May to explore the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival which is held at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, Maryland. For a number of years Old Line Soays has been an exhibitor. Among other things this venue provides the public with a unique opportunity to see British registered Soay sheep in person as ours is the only farm in the USA to exhibit them.
Each breed at the festival is given two 4’ x 8’ stalls, one of which must be used to house sheep, the other to set-up a display. We try to make our limited space as informative as we can with photos of the sheep in their native habitat, handouts about the breed and its uses, samples of raw wool and pieces woven from Soay yarn. While we do not sell sheep at the show, arrangements can be made to visit our farm to see our animals some of which are for sale.
By the end of the weekend we have given out boxes of leaflets and talked until we are hoarse to people who are definitely fascinated by these little creatures and their history. We also sell raw wool by the bag which is always a big hit with handspinners, many of whom have heard of British Soay but never seen one. Many are eager to do their part to support our efforts to preserve this breed through the purchase of our wool. We are always amazed by how many Britons stop by to either see the sheep of their homeland for the first time or to share stories about their experiences with them in the UK.
The MSWS utilizes the entire fairgrounds and has everything from breed and show classes, to herding and shearing demonstrations and seven buildings plus outside grounds full of vendors. People come from across the United States to exhibit and visit this big event. Many wait all year to buy wool and yarn. It is truly a special experience.
We hope to see you there.
In 2007 we were thrilled to be awarded the champion and grand champion ribbons for the entire show for our display.