The sheep at Old Sturbridge Village will get their annual "haircuts" during "Wool Days" on Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26. Throughout the weekend, farmers will demonstrate 1830s-style sheep shearing and on Saturday, May 24, border collies will show off their skills at herding sheep. Costumed historians will demonstrate the entire wool textile process, from scouring and dyeing the wool to spinning, knitting and weaving. Visitors can even try hand carding (brushing and de-tangling) the wool and meet alpacas and llamas. Details: 800-SEE-1830; www.osv.org.
Old Sturbridge Village historians will dye wool as it was done in the early 19th century - in kettles over an open fire using natural dyes that produce a variety of colors. Visitors can take a dye plant tour to learn more about where these natural colors came from. Costumed historians will also demonstrate spinning and weaving to show how wool was used to make household clothing and textiles. At the Craft Center, visitors can dye their own skein of wool yarn using modern dyeing techniques and make felted jewelry.
Sheep aren't the only animals that produce wool. Visitors can meet alpacas and llamas and learn about the difference between their wool and sheep's wool. An antique sock knitting machine and the process of spinning cotton will be demonstrated on Saturday and Monday while on Sunday and Monday an expert will demonstrate the ancient art of wool felting.
On Saturday, May 24, veteran Sheepherder David Kennard and his team of Border Collies from Wellscroft Farm in Chesham, New Hampshire, will demonstrate the dogs' innate ability to herd not just sheep, but a variety of animals. According to Kennard, Border Collies are uniquely talented in retrieving livestock because of their power, balance, intelligence, and their ability to control animals by staring at them with a "predatory eye." At the end of the sheepherding demonstration, Kennard rewards his dogs by playing Frisbee and interacting with the audience.Old Sturbridge Village is one of the largest living history museums in the nation, celebrating life in early New England. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but days and hours vary seasonally. The Village offers lodging at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges and several dining options on-site. The Village is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 31. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17: $8; children 2 and under: free. Admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days. OSV members receive free daytime admission all year long. For more details, visit www.osv.org or call 800-SEE-1830.