THE MARYLAND Sheep and Wool Festival is thriving in its 28th year. Held last weekend at the Howard County Fairgrounds, the event is focused on all things related to sheep.
That means showing and selling sheep, wool and meat. And let's not forget sweaters - so many sweaters and wool-related products you can't count them - and spinning wheels, looms, lamb skins and, of course, sheep of all sizes and breeds, including Finn, Border, Leicester and Romney.
Shelly Deltuva of Granite went to the festival to sell her Finn sheep, a breed that runs a little smaller and has a good temperament. She purchased her first sheep at the festival more than four years ago.
"I came on Saturday and bought a lamb, and took him home and said, 'He needs a friend,'" Deltuva said. She went back the next day and bought another. "That was it! The rest is history," she said.
Other groups used the festival as a sales opportunity, though not always for sheep. 4-H moms Sue Bullock, Gail Willie, Debbie Rippeon and Diana Patterson staffed a table for the West Friendship 4-H Livestock Club. The group raffles off a spinning wheel and gift certificates at the festival every year.
"This is our big fund-raiser," said Rippeon, who lives in Dayton.
The club didn't show any lambs or sheep at the festival. "Most of the children show at the Howard County Fair and the Maryland State Fair," Bullock said.
Rippeon's daughter Emily, 13, and Patterson's son Jimmy, 16, helped out at the fund-raiser Sunday.
Boy Scout Troop 1023 had two fund-raisers at the festival. Bobby Becker of Ijamsville said the troop ran a food station, where lamb-burgers and lamb hotdogs were sold. The boys also directed traffic in the parking area. Bobby said the Scouts have been doing that as long as he can remember.
Many artisans sold their wares at the festival. Columbia resident Annilin Buppert sells her quilts there every year.
"She's been showing here for seven or eight years now," said her husband, Chris. "This show is always too good to pass up."
Chris spins and knits in his free time. He was knitting while he watched Annilin's booth Sunday.
"She taught me to knit, but she doesn't do it anymore," he said. "She bikes now."
In the barn, guests had the opportunity to see more than 30 breeds of sheep, while breeders described the characteristics of each breed. The festival also featured a blade-shearing class, workshops on spinning, and fine art, photo, and poster contests with sheep as the subject.
Entertainers performed throughout the weekend.
The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is a noteworthy experience for greenhorns and sheep lovers alike. It's a bit like the Howard County Fair, but without cows, pigs, rabbits or carnival rides. Check it out next year at the fairgrounds on the first weekend in May.
Clarksville Elementary School continues a longtime tradition from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with its Spring Fling.
You don't have to attend the school to enjoy the shows, demonstrations and raffles. Highlights of the event include a silent auction of themed baskets, a Moonbounce, face-painting and a performance by the Clarksville Elementary School chorus at 2 p.m.
Turner, Dean of Magic, will perform at 11 a.m.; the Tatia Zack Dance Troupe at 12:30 p.m.; and the Davidson School of Scottish Dancing group at 1:30 p.m.
Food will be available for purchase.
Music teacher of the year
Rosemary Lather, River Hill High School's orchestra teacher and director, has been selected Howard County Music Educator of the Year.
Lather, who is also the director of the Middle School Gifted and Talented Orchestra, will receive the award at a Board of Education meeting at 7:30 p.m. today.
A reception for award winners will be held after the presentation ceremony.
Welcome spring at the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church plant sale Saturday. Buy your geraniums, vegetables, herbs and flowering plants while you support St. Andrew's.
Come early for the best selection - the sale will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the church at Route 97 and Union Chapel Road in Glenwood.
Information: Jane Cranska at 410-442-7725.
Fathers and their daughters are invited to a Mardi Gras-theme dance tomorrow. Sponsored by Girl Scout Troop 692, the father-daughter dance will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at West Friendship Elementary School.
The cost is $10 a couple and $15 a family.
Information: Mary Jo Neil, 301-854-6678 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.