by Sarabeth Parido
For the 13th year, the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival was held at Masterson Station Park in Lexington, KY May 21-22, 2022. We set records for heat this year, yet over 3000 guests attended, 14 classes were held and over 55 vendors turned out to share their craft.
We had vendors from far and wide, many of them repeat vendors from years past. We also served as the debut festival for a few of our new vendors. Many of our vendors expressed record sales for the year at our festival which is always encouraging. Our livestock tent was full of local producers and associations giving our guests a close up view of their fiber on the hoof.
Our sheep shearing demonstration tent is always a top gathering spot at the festival- giving a shaded area for animals, shearers and the audience. Many of our older and younger patrons enjoyed their lunches under the shade of the tent while learning about shearing. The fleece sale accommodated a variety of fleeces this year, including wool, mohair and alpaca. The proceeds of the sale go directly to the producers from which they came- providing instant connections between the producer and the consumer. Opening up these channels of communication and providing a point of sale for the producer will lead to further economic growth for our wool and fiber producers. We have many of our guests who come specifically for the fleece sale, lining up at the gate Saturday morning before we open.
We have many sponsors to thank for this year’s festival. The Woolery, our longest returning sponsor, not only sponsored the skein competition, but also had daily demonstrations in our vendor area where they taught a variety of fiber art techniques. Community Ventures and Lazy Kid Acres, our newest sponsors, gifted us with the ability to offer cash premiums for our wool and mohair fleece competitions. Ohio Valley Fiber Farm sponsored the festival this year and collected fleeces for preparation while they vended. And special thanks goes to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Ryan Quarels for their Ag Tag Sponsorship which made many parts of our festival possible.
Our festival continues to grow and change through the years. The Festival Committee is grateful for all who volunteered and made our festival great this year. We cannot do it without the support and participation of our associations and we are thankful for everyone who came out to festival this year and look forward to planning the 2023 Festival!
Sarabeth Parido, is the Director of the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and The Kentucky Fiber Trail. She raises her own small flock of sheep in Clark County, Kentucky along with her husband and four sons.