The Wood River Valley is chock-full of events all year-round. The annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival is a favorite for many and encompasses the entire Wood River Valley. This event is an authentic, inexpensive cultural heritage travel experience that you’ll want to check out.
The Trailing of the Sheep Festival was started in 1996 in response to the rapid loss of farms and ranches and the immense growth at the time in the Wood River Valley. The Festival preserves the stories and colorful history of sheep ranchers and herders, celebrates the rich cultures of the past and present, and entertains and educates children, adults, and families about the production of local food and fiber that sustain local economies and generations of hard-working families. Every year this popular festival celebrates the 150+ year tradition of moving sheep from the mountain summer pastures south through the valley to traditional winter grazing and lambing areas. This annual migration is Idaho living history and a weekend-long festival that highlights people, arts, and traditions that run deep in Idaho and the West.
The mission of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival is to gather, present, and preserve the history and culture of the families and individual men and women involved in Idaho sheep ranching and to honor their contributions to the development of Idaho and the West.
This year’s festival will be held October 4–8, 2017; the 2018 festival is October 10–14.
Event highlights include:
- Authentic Sheep Folklife Fair in Hailey featuring Basque, Scottish, Polish, and Peruvian dancers and music
- Sheepdog herding, sheep shearing, and sheep camp cooking demonstrations
- Sheep wagon displays
- Storytelling sessions
- Sheep and wool product exhibits, classes, and children’s activities.
- Culinary events such as Cooking with Idaho Lamb classes, “For the Love of Lamb” Foodie Fest, Lamb Feast and Lamb BBQ
- Special exhibits and programs on the history and culture of ranching in the West
- Championship Sheepdog Trials – watch 50 of the most talented Border Collies in the West compete over three days for prizes
- Trailing of the Sheep Parade – witness a “wall of wool” featuring more than 1,500+ sheep trailing down Main Street in Ketchum!
For more information on this annual event, visit trailingofthesheep.org.