This year’s Sheep Tales Gathering at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Idaho will present unique stories from three different ranches in the West.
Marcia Barinaga’s ranching story is steeped in her family’s Basque heritage, starting a ranch on her own in California. What began as a dairy farm has now transitioned into one that produces fiber. Alongside Marcia will be Julie Hansmire’s story of continuing the family ranch after losing her husband. Although a hard-working rancher by day (and often night), Julie tries to make time for a life outside of ranching in Colorado.
Also, not to be missed are the stories of the mother/daughter team of Andrée and Bianca Soares, who manage the family’s commercial sheep and goat business, sharing a commitment to both targeted grazing and protecting the land from the threat of wildfire. This conversation will be moderated by multi-generation Idaho rancher Mike Guerry.
Each fall, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival honors the 150+ year annual tradition of moving sheep (trailing) from high mountain summer pastures down through the valley to traditional winter grazing and lambing areas in the south. This annual migration is living history and the focus of a unique and authentic festival that celebrates the people, arts, cultures and traditions of Idaho’s sheep ranching families, while highlighting the principal contributors – the Basques, Scottish and Peruvians.
The five-day festival – Oct. 5-9 this year – includes non-stop activities in multiple venues focusing on history, folk arts, a sheep folklife fair, lamb culinary offerings, a wool festival with classes and workshops, music, dance, storytelling, and championship sheepdog trials. In addition, the always entertaining Big Sheep Parade with 1,500 sheep hoofing it down Main Street in Ketchum, Idaho, remains a highlight of the festivities.
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