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Have ewe heard of the Irish Woolfest in New South Wales?
The Irish Woolfest in Boorowa is a truly original festival that has been running since the late 90s.
Speaking to WorldIrish, Barbara Manion, the Irish Woolfest Events Manager said that they were looking forward to the upcoming event.
'An estimated 15,000 people from all over Australia attend' she said 'a lot from Canberra.'
Boorowa is a farming town west of Sydney and is renowned for producing high-quality Merino wool and therefore it's unsurprising that this is where the 'woolfest' was born. In the year 2000 the festival decided to add its 'Irish component' seeing as the town itself had strong Irish roots.
Image: Irish Woolfest
The festival also has close ties with the town of Clonoulty in Co Tipperary. In fact, its Mayor even paid a visit to the Australian festival once. But, do visitors dye the wool different colours like the 'county-coloured sheep' in Ireland? 'We've had sheep that were painted green here before' says Barbara.
What does the festival open with?
A sheep is shorn and the fleece is thrown on the stage to receive a spiritual thanksgiving for the fine wool of the district at The Ecumenical Blessing of the Fleece. Sheep shearing and displays captivate visitors all day providing an opportunity to see sheep in all their glory
Other events include sheep shearing and a 'Off the Sheep's Back Fashion Parade but the highlight of the whole festival is 'The Running of the Sheep' that takes part on 30 September. 'The sheep running resembles the Spanish Bull run' says Barbara.
Have a look at the sheep in action:
It is not to be compared to the danger of the bulls as our sheep are cute and cuddly but certainly as visually exciting. Visitors love the sheepdog component when they see the trusty kelpies leaping on and off the sheep’s backs as they race down the street guided by Farmer Ashley on his four wheel motorbike.
- Irish Woolfest
Below, organisers of the festival give us a glimpse into the events that are to take place at the Woolfest this year:
The Irish Woolfest takes place on 30 September and sounds like a festival certainly not to be missed. More information can be found here.