WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation will host its 10th annual Sheep to Shawl Festival on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its Sheep Hill headquarters.
The festival will continue Sunday, May 5, with in-depth workshops taught by local farmers, authors and community members.
The Sheep to Shawl festival is a celebration of spring and New England heritage, with time-honored crafts, local artisans, farm animals and a focus on the region’s historic fleece and fiber industry.
For the 10th year, Fred DePaul will spin stories while shearing sheep with traditional tools. Shepherds Kristen Whittle and Wendy Warner will demonstrate herding sheep up and around the steep meadows of Sheep Hill using their skilled border collies.
Local farms will bring sheep, alpacas and calves along with delicious home-grown and locally produced foods for tasting and purchasing.
The Green Mountain Weavers & Spinners Guild will demonstrate carding, spinning and weaving throughout the day, along with rug-hooking demonstrations, and will raffle off a completed shawl made at last year’s event. There will be fiber-arts and printing-on-cloth crafts projects for children and enthusiastic adults.
Local artisans will show and sell their wares. This year’s craft offerings include basketry, pottery, one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, jewelry and sheep and alpaca fiber products. Local painters will be in the fields landscape painting.
Sheep Hill’s traditional soup kitchen will serve a variety of homemade soups, while Wild Oats Market and Cricket Creek farm will offer fresh breads, cheeses, sandwiches and other edibles available for purchase.
Tickets for Sheep to Shawl can be purchased at the gate. Non-member tickets prices are $5 per individual and $10 per family. WRLF members and those who come by bicycle pay $3 per individual and $6 per family. Become a WRLF member at the gate and receive free admission. All are welcome to enter their admission tickets in a Sheep to Shawl raffle for a ‘locally produced’ prize basket.
Proceeds from the Sheep to Shawl Festival support the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (www.wrlf.org) and its public programming.
In the second half of the weekend, half and full-day workshops will be offered at Sheep Hill on Sunday, May 5.
Morning and afternoon sessions include yarn dyeing with "Kangaroo Dyer" Gail Callahan and introduction to bee-keeping with Alethea Morrison and Mars Vilaubi. Featured speaker Jennifer Trainer Thompson will discuss raising chickens and egg production during the local foods lunch. Learn to make twig garden accessories, such as trellises, in an all-day workshop with Art Evans.
Half-day session and lunch are $40 and $25 for WRLF members. Two sessions or all-day rustic garden accessory design and building workshop is $75 including materials and lunch, and $60 for WRLF members.
Free shuttle parking for Saturday’s event is available at the former Taconic Restaurant at the junction of Route 2 and 7, just south of Sheep Hill, and at neighboring Mezze Restaurant’s lower parking lot. Parking for Sunday is on site at Sheep Hill.
Sheep Hill is on Route 7, approximately one mile south of the Williamstown rotary. Look for the sign on the west side of the road.
For more information, visit www.wrlf.org or call 413-458-2494.