Idaho's Trailing of the Sheep Festival Offers Authentic Family Fun and Learning

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| Source: Idaho Department of Commerce
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KETCHUM, HAILEY and SUN VALLEY, Idaho, Aug. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tell the kids to put down the video games and head to Idaho's Trailing of the Sheep Festival for an authentic, fun and educational family vacation. The 18th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival, held October 9-12th, 2014 in the picturesque Wood River Valley, celebrates an important part of the colorful history, heritage and culture of Idaho and the west. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy, including an authentic Sheep Folklife Fair, culinary events featuring American lamb, storytelling, a Fiber Festival, Sheepdog Trials, children's activities and workshops, a Big Sheep Parade and so much more.

This wild and woolly event has special appeal to families who want to provide their children with a hands-on learning experience about history, peoples and cultures, and a way of life that is likely very different from their own, as well as about sustainable food and fiber and the animals that provide them.

"We offer many special children's activities during the Trailing of the Sheep Festival, and families with young children are one of the fastest growing segments of our event attendees," says Trailing of the Sheep Festival Director Mary Austin Crofts.  "The families get a very intimate, up close and personal connection to the sheep through our Festival activities and the kids really love it."

Top Festival events for kids include:

Sheep Folklife Fair which features a full day of ongoing demonstrations, exhibits and activities like sheep shearing, sheep camps and sheepdogs, cultural dancers and musicians, great food (lots of lamb cooked in many different ways), and a special Children's Activity Area with programs that teach all about fiber and allow them to create easy, beautiful projects.

Trailing of the Sheep Parade

Another highlight for kids and families is the Big Sheep Parade on Sunday, October 14th at 12:00 noon in Ketchum, Idaho.  1,500 – 2,000 sheep plan their trip from the mountain summer pastures to coincide with the parade and trail down Main Street in Ketchum with multi-cultural dancers and musicians, sheep wagons, music and entertainment.  The highway and Main Street are closed to traffic to allow the "Wall of Wool" to move south.

Championship Sheep Dog Trials

The 2014 National Point Qualifying Sheepdog Trials take place on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13.  50 of the most talented border collies in the west compete for prizes.   Everyone is invited to sponsor a sheepdog for $$100 to support the Festival and have a favorite dog to cheer on.  It's great fun!

About the Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Every year the popular Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates the 150+ year tradition of moving sheep from mountain summer pastures south through the Wood River Valley to traditional winter grazing and lambing areas.  This annual migration is Idaho living history and a weekend long festival that highlights the people, arts, cultures, and traditions of sheep ranching in Idaho and the west.  This is not a reenactment, but a real slice of the American west.  This unique event, rated as one of the "Top Ten Fall Festivals in the World" by msn.com/travel, one of the "Top Ten Great Animal Festivals" and "Top Ten Fall Festivals" by USA Today, and one of "America's Wackiest Fall Festivals" by Huffingtonpost.com, has national and international appeal, drawing thousands each autumn to the stunning mountain communities of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley in central Idaho.

Top 2014 Festival highlights include:

  • Authentic Sheep Folklife Fair featuring Basque, Scottish Polish and Peruvian dancers and music, sheep shearing, sheep wagon displays, storytelling sessions, sheep and wool exhibits, and shops classes, children's activities and lamb created by local chefs.
  • Culinary events like Cooking with Idaho Lamb classes, For the Love of Lamb Foodie Fest, Lamb Feast, authentic Lamb barbecue.    
  • SheepTales Gathering featuring Hank Volger and other renowned storytellers.
  • Fiber Festival with classes, workshops, fleece competition, exhibits and special lectures.
  • Quilt show including exhibits and free presentations.
  • Championship Sheepdog Trials with 50 of the most talented border collies in the U.S.
  • Sheepherder's Ball with the sizzling Hot Club of Cowtown, named the best music group of 2012 by True West magazine.
  • Trailing of the Sheep Parade starring 2,000 sheep trailing down Main Street Ketchum.  It's a wall of wool!  Plus sheep wagons, ethnic dancers and musicians and Father Ken "blessing the flock" of sheep.

For a complete events schedule and other information, www.trailingofthesheep.org.  

Media contacts:
Mary Austin Crofts, Festival Director, mary(at)trailingofthesheep(dot)org, 208.721.2827
Carol Waller, CW Communications, carol(at)cw-communications(dot)com, 208.720.3965

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=27123

Laurie McConnell
Idaho Tourism
208-287-0781
laurie(dot)mcconnell(at)tourism(dot)idaho(dot)gov