The 2019 Sheep Folklife Fair

Saturday, October 12
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 70 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 related to sheep 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 of the Basque and other cultures and more are offered at our day-long fair. 

Sheep Shearing Demonstrations by Sherrie Wilde, Tyler Wilde, Paula and John Balderson are 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 wine, beer, Pepsi's soft drinks and water from Albertson's.

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!


"The Story of Lamb"

presented by Megan Wortman
10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm


The Story of Lamb
Food is our common ground”…James Beard

Have you noticed lamb on more menus these days and in more local markets? It is exciting to be tempted by a slow cooked leg of lamb or the possibilities of grilled lamb burgers with mint and feta cheese for dinner. 

But what is behind this new interest? Lamb’s extraordinary delicious flavor? Its nutritional value?  Generations of families who care for and raise sheep?  Millennials who eagerly look for lamb on menus?  Yes, all these reasons and more.

Join us to hear The Story of Lamb with very special guest, Megan Wortman, Executive Director of the American Lamb Board. This organization took up the challenge to breathe new life into the age-old industry of lamb, a food that was almost unknown to many American diners as recently as 20 years ago. 

But, today lamb is back and Megan will discuss the fascinating resurgence and growing popularity of preparing and dining on lamb today.  Learn and meet US producers, discover new markets, explore the creative possibilities with chefs and the ease of cooking lamb in your own home.  The Story of Lamb is a story of traditions and cultures that go back centuries but it is also a story now told in modern dress.   

Megan Wortman, Executive Director, American Lamb Board

Megan has been working with the American Lamb Board since 2003. She was hired to oversee the board's marketing and communications programs and was promoted to Executive Director in 2008. Prior to working with the American Lamb Board, Megan had more than 10 years of experience working with agriculture trade associations and commodity checkoff boards. She has a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and an MBA from George Washington University.  Megan lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two daughters. 

"The Story of Wool"

presented by Cindy Siddoway and John Helle
11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

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Cindy Siddoway - "History of Wool"
Cindy and her husband Jeff are the current majority shareholders of the Siddoway Sheep Company, Inc. She is also past president of the American Sheep Industry Association and past chairman of the Idaho Farm Service State Committee. Under Jeff and Cindy’s leadership, their ranch increased in size and scope. At one point, they had up to 14,000 breeding ewes. Since then, they have cut back to approximately 10,000. This translates to production of over 100,000 pounds of wool each year. Her knowledge of sheep, wool and the industry as a whole is vast and this is a presentation not to miss!

John Helle, Helle Rambouillet - "New Wool"
John Helle is the second generation rancher of Helle Rambouillet, producers of fine wool sheep. He is part of this third generation family sheep ranch located in the town of Dillon, Montana. They run a fine wool range sheep operation that offers replacement ewes and Rambouillet rams for sale. 

In addition to producing fine wool and competitive carcasses, they are also being successfully used for resource management and weed control. Helle Rambouillet specializes in providing quality breeding stock and pride themselves on their fine wool which is now available through Duckworth.

"Montana Wool Lab"

10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm

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The Montana Wool Lab was established with the help of sheep producers in Montana to serve the sheep industry. The Montana Legislature approved funding for a building and equipment in 1945, and construction of the Wool Lab was completed in 1947. The Montana Wool Lab was incorporated into Montana State University’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the 1980’s

Currently, the Montana Wool Lab is one of only two wool research and service laboratories in the United States. The lab analyzes wool from producers across the United States for fiber characteristics, such as diameter and staple length. These analyses are required for producers to enroll in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), the only American organization to offer United States sheep producers a proven genetic selection system to use to improve flock productivity and quality. Furthermore, seed stock producers are encouraged to have wool analyzed for possible purchasers, so they know the wool quality of the animal, as wool is a moderately heritable trait.

Current collaboration with scientists and personnel at several universities, the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Sheep Experiment Station, and National Sheep Industry Improvement Center have helped the Montana Wool Lab be a leader in fiber research in the United States

If you are interested in the science behind wool this is a presentation you will not want to miss! Demonstrations of the OFDA 2000 will be conducted as well as a look into the Montana Wool Lab history and fascinating science of wool!



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.

Dewey, Pickette & Howe

Enjoy them mid-day during this year's Folklife Fair!

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Dewey, Pickette, and Howe is a three-piece bluegrass band, based in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area, that has quickly established itself as one of the top bands in Southern Idaho.  “Great song list,” “sharp arrangements” and “awesome harmony,” are just a few of the comments from fans at Dewey, Pickette, and Howe performances.

The roots of this band come not only from the traditional influences of Flatt and Scruggs, and Bill Monroe, but also the more contemporary sounds of John Hartford and Tim O’Brien.  With combined experience of over 100 years performing in bluegrass, cowboy, country rock and new acoustic bands, the members of Dewey, Pickette, and Howe blend it all into a fresh, distinctly Northern Rockies bluegrass sound.  On guitar and vocals is Gary Carlson, laying down the groove on the bass is Brad Hershey and on mandolin and vocals is Dave Muscavage.