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Trailing of the Sheep Festival 2022

The annual sheep herding festival in Idaho's Basque Country


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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The Wood River Valley in south-central Idaho is often called the Basque country since it's home to the largest Basque community in the United States. It also shares with Spain's region the pastoral scenery of mountains and sheep. The Trailing of the Sheep Festival is the highlight of the fall season in the area and is usually held in mid-October. The festival showcases herding and ranching traditions of the Wood River Valley that date back to the 1860s.

The main attraction of the festival is the Big Sheep Parade that takes place at noon on Sunday along Ketchum's Main Street, near the resort town of Sun Valley. Visitors can see an amazing sight of over 1500 sheep migrating to winter pastures through downtown hailed by thousands of spectators. The sheep run in the Smokey Mountains, at the head of the South Fork of the Boise River, across the Wood River Valley and north into the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Aside from sheep, the parade features sheep wagons and Folklife Fair performers in national costumes.

The five-day Trailing of the Sheep festival offers music, dancing, wool classes, delicious lamb meals, sheepdog trials, and the Folklife Fair held at McKercher Park in Hailey. There is also an operating shearing station to demonstrate how sheep lose their wool. Sheepherding cultures are represented by Basque, Peruvian, Polish, and Scottish folklore groups in traditional outfits who perform non stop to entertain the crowds. Most events of the Trailing of the Sheep festival are free of charge.

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