Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

For something a little bit different this weekend, why not grab the family and head over to the Sheep Shearing Festival at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum for a little fun on the farm? No other capital city in the world has a fully functioning farm in the middle of it, and this weekend, you can watch the sheep being sheared right here in Ottawa.

It is spring, so the sheep are ready to have their wool taken off for the warmer weather. Watch them being sheared while learning more about these animals. Once you have seen a demonstration of this craft, you can see a shepherd and his dogs at work, while they herd a flock of sheep.

Weather permitting, there will a sheepdog agility course put on by the Ottawa Border Collie Club. Cheer on the dogs as they run through an obstacle course!

Goat milk consumption is rapidly increasing in Western society (it is already consumed by more people in the rest of the world than cow’s milk), and there will be on-going cooking demonstrations showcasing this delicious and versatile product. Make sure you stop by for some free samples of the goat cheese and herb biscuits!

The Shawville 4-H Club will have three presentations. At 9:45am, 11:45am, and again at 1:45pm, club members will demonstrate how they train and prepare their farm animals for showing at country fairs. You can meet the trainers, and their animals, and then head out to meet Yanni, the Alpaca. Learn about alpacas, and how they are raised, and about the special characteristics of their wool.

Traditional finger-weaving will be on display, or you can learn how to make a piece of felt from sheep’s wool. Learn about carding (one of the steps needed to turn wool into the yarn we see used for knitting), and how raw fleece is transformed into wool.

In keeping with the farm theme, the movie Babe will also be available to watch. The English show will be at 10 am, with the French version showing at 1pm. You can purchase popcorn, with proceeds going to the museum’s Youth Fund.

With lots of different activities available, there is sure to be something for the whole family to enjoy this weekend.

Located at 901 Prince of Wales Drive, the festival will run on Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm both days. (Please note that while the museum will be open on the Monday of the long weekend, the Sheep Shearing Festival will not be on that day.) There is an admission fee to get in to the farm (Adults: $12, Children 3-17: $10, Seniors/60+ and Students: $10).