Arts & Culture » Culture

Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Runs through Sunday, Oct. 13


Being stuck in a traffic jam in which the streets are clogged with woolly sheep is an experience most of us will only have during the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Sun Valley. But, while this four-day event is steeped in the ranching and cowboy culture of the Old West, the festival is about more than sheep.

The weekend starts with the Fiber Fest--a multi-day series of knitting and crocheting workshops. If you want to learn how to dye wool, knit or crochet, these workshops will help you get started.

Carnivores can celebrate sheep in their own special way with a series of Cooking With Lamb classes, in which chefs teach the public how to prepare classic lamb dishes (accompanied by wine, of course) and area lamb producers share how they raise their herds. A complete list of classes is available online.

On Friday, Oct. 11, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky shares his thoughts on the importance of preserving cultures through storytelling, beginning at 7 p.m. at NexStage Theatre. Tickets cost $20 and preregistration is required.

The day's other activities include discussions of the history of sheep ranching, as well as a walking tour of Ketchum restaurants, during which participating eateries will offer tastings of their finest lamb creations and diners can vote for their favorite. The tour is free and starts at 5 p.m., with voting at 6:45 p.m. at NexStage Theatre.

Saturday, Oct. 12, is packed with the championship sheepdog trials, as well as the Sheep Folklife Fair throughout the day. Not only can you check out sheep wagons, wool-based crafts, vendors and kids activities, but there will be performances by Peruvian musicians, the Oinkari Basque Dancers, Boise Highlanders Scottish bagpipers and Polish Highlanders--all sheep-appreciating cultures.

The actual Trailing of the Sheep comes in parade form on Sunday, Oct. 13, when 1,500 sheep will be herded through the middle of Ketchum on their way to winter pastures, beginning at noon.

Check out the event's website for a full calendar of events.