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Sheep to Shawl Festival brings crowd to Kissam House

Tabitha Haubold, owner of the Long Island Livestock

Tabitha Haubold, owner of the Long Island Livestock Co., demonstrated sheep shearing during the 30th Annual Sheep to Shawl Festival at the historic Kissam House in Huntington on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney

About 1,200 attendees met at the historic Kissam House Museum in Huntington on Sunday for the 30th annual Sheep to Shawl Festival, which is a tribute to Long Island’s farming and textile history and a venue for artists to showcase their crafts.

“The festival is a mission-based event to educate the community,” said Linda Walch, executive director of the Huntington Historical Society.

Live colonial era music and historians added to the 18th-century feel. The day’s main event was a sheep shearing demonstration presented by Tabitha Haubold, owner of the Long Island Livestock Co.

Haubold sheared several sheep throughout the day to a constant crowd of adults and children, who also learned about the variety of methods for carding, spinning and weaving the material.

Carol Chesler, 52, of Huntington brought her daughter, Galit, 7, to the festival to enjoy the colonial games and craft making.

“The crafts are really great and the people in historic costumes are interesting. We come to the festival every year,” Chesler said.

Living historians demonstrated traditional methods of crafting wool products alongside modern artisans, who use wool in their designs. Members of the Long Island Knitting and Crochet Guild showcased new techniques in their craft such as arm knitting, which creates a loose effect by using one’s hands instead of needles to weave yarn.

“This [festival] is about getting together to expand the knowledge of our craft,” said Long Island Knitting and Crochet Guild President Patti Anne Baldassaro, 59, of East Meadow. “We want this to carry on for generations.”

All proceeds from the Sheep to Shawl Festival will go toward the upcoming 15-year renovation of the Huntington Sewing and Trade School, which houses the Huntington Historical Society’s archives.

“We have an enormous amount of Huntington’s history that we’re just really proud of and want to share with the community,” Walch said.


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