Friday, November 2, 2007
Trailing of the Sheep
"Trailing of the Sheep" is an a annual festival in Ketchum, Idaho which is part of the annual sheep movement from summer to winter pasture. This year, since we were already in Stanley, we decided to make the trip to Ketchum to catch it. We had to wait awhile, and while there was frost that morning they day ended up quite warm. Eventually the parade started, and there were alot of peruvian dancers and various groups in costume, plus several trailers pulled by very large draft horses, mules, or a cross between the two. Paso Fino horses pranced by, and then some people with polish sheepdogs on leashes, and it seemed that the sheep would never arrive. The Boise Highlanders were there playing bagpipe music, which was excellent, and as a nice touch they had their bagpipes covered in sheep costumes.
When the sheep finally came, I was surprised that they were being herded mainly by people and not much at all by the dogs. The sheep were frightened, and several were jumping and trying to escape those chasing them. There were a few black sheep, but mostly white. It was over in just a minute or two.
I was a bit grossed out to see that the local paper was advertising restaurants who serve lamb and mutton in context with the festival. It seems odd to me that you would bring your children to enjoy seeing live sheep go buy and then want to take them to eat a dead one to top off the experience. I guess our culture is so used to killing that doesn't seem incongruous to most, but it did to me. I felt bad for the sheep, who were clearly scared, and I certainly didn't feel like dining on them.