Vermont’s 34th annual Sheep and Wool Festival

Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:58 PM EDT
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TUNBRIDGE, Vt. (WCAX) - Sweater weather is here to stay, and Vermont’s woolly experts got together to celebrate at the 34th annual Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.

Sheep and wool enthusiasts from across the state gathered in Tunbridge to show off their animals, products and talents.

“It’s not something you’re going to find at a big box store or anything. They’re all individual. A lot of local mills do their own yarn. So, it’s a Vermont product, a local product,” said Lindsay Chandler, a committee member of the festival.

This year, the festival is celebrating the women in the industry who work to produce natural fiber and food products.

“It’s a lot of women who have sheep and llamas and alpacas and all the different fiber animals... If the women are involved in businesses and things, it’s a much better society. And so, it’s really important that the women be able to promote their own businesses,” said Chandler.

It was also dedicated to long-time event organizer Kat Smith, who passed away last year.

Vendors say that events like this are vital to uplifting women in the industry.

“Women are as able as any other person to run a business and a farm and be independent, be able to do it... There are many women here that are not just farmers, but also artists and just create beautiful things,” said Elizabeth Willis, a vendor at the event from Willistowne Farms.

Organizers say the festival helps inspire younger generations to take an interest in fiber arts such as spinning, dyeing, knitting, crocheting and weaving.

“It’s great to see the little kids here. And there’s definitely been a positive almost like reintroduction of the natural fibers and people wanting to buy really high-quality local products, more people maybe get into animals or at least support the local farms and, and keep us all going,” said Chandler.

People who stopped by said they were happy to see the festivities return after two years of it being canceled.

“I’m presently from Northeastern Pennsylvania and my daughter went to UVM years ago. When we discovered that Vermont was doing a sheep and wool, we came pre-pandemic, loved it... we even showed up last year when they canceled them, we didn’t care,” said Helen McEntire, who came to the event from Pennsylvania.

They say they’re happy to support an event that showcases the women in the Vermont sheep and wool industry.

“I like the fact that women are doing this, that they’re doing their own businesses. I really always support small business, because you’re not going to have the love the care and the quality,” said McEntire.