A new festival will celebrate Wyoming’s sheep and wool producers
At the end of the month, sheep ranchers from across the state will descend upon Kemmerer for the first annual Sheep & Wool Fest. The three day festival hopes to celebrate those in the industry and raise awareness of the less well-known industry.
“One of the most common things that people tell me when I tell them what I do for a living is, ‘There can't be that many sheep in the country because we never see them.’” said Alison Crane, executive director for the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA), a primary sponsor of the festival. “And it's one of the really common things that people say, even if they're from Wyoming, [but] are disconnected from the sheep industry because you don't really see sheep from the road like you see cattle.”
According to Crane, Wyoming is among the top wool and sheep producers in the country.
The festival will kick off with a sheep trail tour, where people can follow today’s sheepherders as they move their flocks to the Bridger Teton National Forest for the summer. The next three days will be packed with educational talks, sheep ranchers sharing their experiences, a street dance, and several meals serving lamb.
“You do not have to be a member of Wool Growers to participate in the event,” said Crane. “And in fact, if you're not a member, we really encourage you to come and just see some of the stuff that Wool Growers does.”
WWGA is hoping to engage as many members of the public as possible. And each year, the festival will be in a different Wyoming town.
“One of the goals of it is to not just keep it in one location each year, but to, kind of like the sheep trails trail throughout Wyoming, follow the historical sheep centers in the state,” Crane said.
Next year, the festival will be held in Thermopolis. In 2025, it will be held in Buffalo.