The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival: Recap

by Maxwell Tielman


One of my favorite things of becoming a part-time Upstate New York resident is getting to indulge in my wildest, craziest country-bumpkin fantasies and being able to live a bucolic lifestyle that was heretofore unattainable within the concrete confines of Brooklyn. This past weekend, my fiancé abandoned me in Kingston with our dogs to attend Camp Mighty in Palm Springs, so I took this as an opportunity to take a break from house-related chores and do a little autumnal galavanting. On Saturday, I joined a few friends on a leaf-peeping journey to the Catskills’ Ashokan Reservoir (which, fun fact, is where New York City gets its drinking water from!). The views were utterly breathtaking—and the perfect antidote to high-blood-pressure city life. There was fall foliage! There were mountains! And water! All that was missing was an epic Hogwarts castle in the distance.


The real highlight of this decadent Upstate weekend, however, was Sunday’s visit to The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck’s fairgrounds. To anybody who doesn’t already know—I have a bit of a thing for wool. And yarn. And farm animals. So this event, filled with all of the above plus hot cider, fried dough, and crisp autumn air pretty much got my neurons firing like a rat on crystal meth. I was in a wooly ecstasy. Although I’ve been on a bit of a tight financial leash (what with renovating a huge fixer-upper house and all), I may have loosened my reigns a bit and splurged on a few woolen delights for my winter knitting projects. Check out more photos plus a few of my product selections from the festival below! —Max

Above: 1 & 2, un-dyed yarn from Ginger Hill Farm’s booth (phone orders only—518-943-6656) | 3. A crochet hook by Stephen Willett


Above image: I fell absolutely in love with these stunning crochet hooks by the woodworker Stephen Willett.



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  • Max,

    I really enjoy when you write about your personal experiences – and always appreciate your humor! Keep the fantastic similes coming!

  • You’re so funny, with your “wooly ecstasy”. I talk/write the same way…Like my words were crafted at Joss Whedon’s table of writers, when “Buffy” was still in production. (I’m going on a ledge and assuming that you’re also a fellow fan of the cult-classic show, if you’re so inclined to make a nod towards “Hogwarts”. That is…unless my “nerdist-radar” needs a battery re-charge.)

    Anyways, thanks for sharing, as always! Being stuck in a tropical climate, I have to live vicariously through posts like this, for my healthy dose of Fall (ie. “cool weather) festivities.

  • Venture farther north to the Republic of Vermont for year-round rusticity. Rhinebeck also has the Culinary Institute of America–seriously fine eating, I hear. Anyway, woollies, yes! Beautiful carved wood, yes! Leaf-peeping and crisp mountain-area air, yes!

  • Rhinebeck! Yarn yarn yarn yarn! I don’t get to go back to Rhinebeck again until I’ve knitted up all the yarn I bought the last time I went.

  • OMG! Soooo jealous of you!! I love wool and sheep and the outdoors! I just took up knitting and my teacher went to this event as well. I can’t wait to hear all about it tomorrow. AND I also love wooden knitting needles so those crochet hooks are definitely up my alley!

  • Did you get to see the Punkin Chunkin? That’s always a lot of fun. I missed the festival this year. I hope to be back for the next one.

  • Grace, Oe of these days you would be so welcomed to join us at The Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Ketchum, Idaho. Actually it takes place all over the Wood River Valley, with a Folk Life Fair, Sheep Dog Trials, Lamb Tastings and such!! Please come next year!! Second week in October!!!

  • We have a booth there every year, I wish I’d known you were coming, it would have been lovely to have met you. I’ve been reading and loving your blog for quite some time. Glad you loved Rhinebeck, we love it too!

  • I was at the festival last weekend and had a great time, so nice to see it written up here. Thought about you guys while we were in Kingston, wondering if you were hating the festival because of all the traffic back ups, glad you were enjoying it too!

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