The 2017 Sheep Folklife Fair
Saturday, October 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey
("Cash is King" for the many activities at the Fair!")
This popular Folklife Fair provides demonstrations of sheep shearing, displays of sheep wagons, Kids' Fluff craft activities, spinning and weaving demonstrations by regional and local artisans, music and dancing by traditional performers, great food and beverages, and over 50 vendors selling their unique crafts and arts. Admission to the Fair is free and promises fun for all ages.
Our juried arts and crafts show requires vendors to offer handmade items made of wool, alpaca, wool blends or items of a 'sheep' nature such as soaps and lotions from lanolin, sheep cheeses or items that augment cooking with lamb. Great photography of sheep and ranch life, jewelry with sheep designs, knitting bowl pottery, items offered of the Basque and other cultures and much more are offered at our day-long fair.
Sheep Shearing Demonstrations by Ed Wilde, Tyler Wilde, Paula and John Balderson are scheduled every half hour from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Food by the 4-H Leaders Council features a large menu including breakfast burritos, hotdogs, chili, cookies, coffee, soft drinks and water. For those who are looking for great comfort food, they are the place to go to. 4-H has partnered for years with the Festival splitting the proceeds to benefit both groups.
"Lamb Fest" features scrumptious lamb dishes served by top chefs and local restaurants. As each offers their individual dish, plan to try out several booths for a great culinary adventure! Quench your thirst with Idaho wines from Sawtooth Estate Winery and beers from MillerCoors. Pepsi's soft drinks water by Albertson's is also available.
Behind the scenes is the Make It With Wool judging. This national program and contest, sponsored by the Idaho Wool Growers, brings final Idaho contestants to the Festival. The winners determined at the Festival will go on to compete in Washington D.C. for scholarships.
Music in the stage area begins at 10:30 a.m. and continues all day.
Each group takes the stage twice in rotation so stay a few hours and you'll hear them all!
A special activity booth "Kids' Fluff" featuring face painting, crafts, storytelling, carding with wool, coloring and lots of fun will be featured all day at the Fair. The Kid's Fluff program is directed by Kathi Kimball, 4H leader and staff expert from the University of Idaho/Blaine County Extension office. In addition, new workshops will be scheduled ALL DAY! A few craft projects may cost $5 per child to cover supplies but many are free. The instructors are all teens active in 4-H.
Music prevails at the Folklife Fair. There is something for young and old alike.
The Boise Highlanders - Bagpipers, Drummers, and Dancers
The Boise Highlanders, formed in 1961, are one of the oldest pipe bands in the Northwest. The Highland drums, often cited as the most complex form of snare drumming, complement the pipers. Dancers join the musicians performing the Highland fling and jigs. Pipers and drummers wear the Davidson tartan, while the dancers wear tartans of their choice. This popular group performs regularly throughout the region. Many years ago, they created a special 'sheep' cover for their pipes in honor of the Trailing which they use only at our event. Scottish immigrants were major contributors to the early sheep ranching operations in Idaho and the region. Bringing their experience from Scotland, they mostly started as herders and hands but several built their own sheep ranches. The Highlanders remind us of the Scottish influence.
Peruvian Dancers and Musicians (formerly Latino X)
These Peruvian musicians have been playing together for several years performing Andean music and the contemporary dance music of Peru. Most members of this group are Wood River Valley residents. Many Peruvians came to Idaho to be sheepherders. After a majority of Basque sheepherders moved on to other jobs and careers, the Peruvians filled the ranchers' needs. Even as many Peruvians, after time, also left sheepherding to become local businessmen or changed careers, many of today's sheepherders are Peruvian. These dancers share their culture with us to share the diversity of peoples who have added their influences on our industry and community.
Oinkari Basque Dancers
The nationally acclaimed Oinkari Basque Dancers were started by a group of Boise Basque Americans after a trip to the Spanish Basque country in 1960. They began the dance group and called themselves Oinkari (a combination of "oinak" meaning "feet" and "arin" meaning "fast" or "light.") Today, many dancers are the sons, daughters and grandchildren of those founders, carrying on the traditions of their ancient homeland. Musicians trained in traditional Basque music and its instruments accompany the dancers. They play Basque music of varying styles and rhythms using traditional instruments including the txistu and button accordions, accompanied by pandareta and other Basque instruments. The music they play could have been heard coming from a Basque hotel, boarding house or sheepranch in Hailey, Shoshone, or Boise areas over 100 years ago. The Basques first came to Idaho to work in the mines. Then, when the mines played out, they turned to sheepherding and they invited their friends and family. These people kept their heritage, unique language and traditions alive as shown in their dance and music. Idaho and other regions will find the Basques active contributors to their government and communities.
Siumni Polish Highlanders of North America
The Polish Highlanders of North America present the folk music and dance of their families, shepherds from the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland. Their dance is found only in this region of Europe. Their singing was once used to communicate from mountaintop pastures to valleys below. Living in Chicago, the group keeps its distinct identity and traditions to pass on to its children.
Like the other groups, the Polish Highlanders share their dance, costumes and music with us annually at the Fair and in our Parade.