I was told, about 47 times that this was 'typical Scottish weather' and that it added authenticity to the event. All I can say is they must be hardy, waterproof folks! I know that the rain hurt the crowd turnout, perhaps not the die-hard clansmen (or clans-people) who were out and about in their kilts, but for the more delicate regular people I'm sure it discouraged them from getting out.
I had more interest in my display later in the afternoon. I answered allot of questions, about the sheep, wool and roving. I also handed out brochures about the Shetland breed and business cards. (Thanks go to Tina for sending me the brochure she had made up, it saved me allot of time and the information was great. I ended up adding some things and different photos to personalize it, but it was great having all the info at hand! Thanks again Tina--you are such a generous person!) Most people were very interested to see the sheep, feel the raw fleeces and then feel the roving. Invariably they were amazed at how much more 'grease' was in the raw fleeces than the roving. One poor "Kiltie" (a local high school marching band) was not so amused. She saw the raw fleece and blurted out, oh, no! There are their skins! I was able to explain to her that no, those sheep were able to live on, and produce more wool to be sheared each year. She was very happy about that! I hope that I was able to help with educating people about the Shetlands and I know the boys made a big impact. I have a couple of local people who were keen on the boys. The 'pony people' were one of them and they were interested in them as pets. Another lady was interested in adding them to her fiber farm. I also sold several ounces of roving which surprised me.
As for the setup, I tried to keep it simple. I brought three raw fleeces in several colors, Shetland roving in all the colors I had available, and some grey Shetland that had been spun into yarn. Sheep to end product so to speak--it would be nice to have some type of garment made from the Shetland as well, I think. I also had a for-sale handout, the brochures and business cards for myself and Allena. Next year (yes, we've been asked back!) I will set up the booth closer to the sheep, so I can be more involved with the people who visit them, and I hope to have some type of product to offer them made out of Shetland wool. It was not an event that produced sales, but I hope that seeds were planted and people will be more interested in the Shetland sheep breed.
I do have to say, people are just....strange. :-) I can't believe how many people found the baa-ing of a sheep so hysterically funny. Or how many would be halfway across the park and baa back at them. But then, I am sure this is the first time many of them 'met' a sheep 'in person' so I have to look at it from an entirely different perspective, I reckon.
Around 3 p.m. I decided to start packing up. There was another bank of clouds moving in, and things had slowed down again. I was interrupted quite a bit, as is always the case---once you start tearing down, people flock over. However, I didn't have a whole lot to pack up, so I didn't get in a hurry. I almost covered up an entire family when I was taking the canopy down. Who would have thought removing that one rope would cause it not only to collapse but fly/float several feet away? The man thought it was funny, but the ladies present gave me a dirty look... oops! The boys clued in pretty fast that 'something' was up and started following me around the fence baa-ing their hearts out. Don't leave us! I assured them I wouldn't. With help from Lee the Highland Cattle guy (he encouraged them from behind), I was able to lead them to the truck and pop them into the carrier. I did forget their halters--leaving them lying on the ground, but the Highland people found them, and they live just a few miles down the road. It was a relief to get all my sodden possessions, sheep and self loaded up. It was misting again, when I pulled out of the parking area.Come on! You know you wanted to see at least one guy in a kilt! ;-) There were some really impressive outfits, but by the time I got around to taking pictures, this young feller was the only one that came by.
If you ever get a chance to display a few sheep at an event like this, I think you will enjoy it. Hopefully your weather won't be so 'authentic' and you'll meet some good folks, who are interested in learning about our wonderful little Shetland Sheep breed!