Museum’s sheep shearing event is Saturday

If you’ve never watched sheep being sheared up close, now’s your chance.

The Museum of Appalachia in Norris will hold its annual sheep-shearing event this Saturday, May 1, with at least two-dozen of the wooly beasts getting close shaves for the visiting crowds.

“It’s over a decade that we’ve been doing this now,” said Will Meyer, the museum’s marketing director. “We have a few events that are big boosters for us and help us show some of the Appalachian traditions.

“This event each spring is one where we traditionally have thousands of school kids here,” he said. “But not this year, because of COVID. We do have a lot of home-school kids coming, though, so we should have over 1,000 kids here on Saturday.”

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year’s shearer is Daniel Tallent, a University of Tennessee student who grew up on a sheep farm, Meyer said.

Because the museum doesn’t have a huge population of its own sheep, there will be some brought in for the event, Meyer said. “We have some here, but not that many.

“This is something the sheep actually welcome,” he said. “It does not hurt them, and it cools them off for the summer.”

Tickets are available through a link on the museum’s Facebook page or at Tickets are $15 for ages 13 and up, or $6 for ages 5-12. A family pass is $42. Admission also includes tours of the museum farm and village, “which contains some three-dozen historic log structures, exhibit halls filled with thousands of Appalachian artifacts, working gardens, and farm animals,” according to the museum. There also will be “spinners and weavers” on hand “so visitors can see how wool is made into finished products,” Meyer said.

“We will have other things going on, too,” he said. “There will be live music the entire time, and sheep-herding demonstrations. We have a beekeeper coming, as well as a blacksmith and a potter. There will be soap carving, food vendors, and other animals to see and greet, including mini-donkeys, mini-horses and goats.”