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Urban Safari: Gore Place, Waltham MA

This past Saturday was kind of cool, but very sunny. After running some errands, we thought we would see if there was anything happening which would get us outside. A few years ago, we went to a Sheepshearing Festival in Waltham MA. As it turns out, the festival was on until 5 PM. The timing was perfect as it was just a little past noon and if we hurried and cleaned up, we could hop into the Boxster and be there with plenty of time remaining.

The festival was in full swing when we arrived. Parking was free (out in a big field) and there was plenty of it. The only drawback was there is only one entrance so there was a bit of a bottle-neck. As this was the 25th time for this particular festival, the organizers have worked out the logistics the best they could. They had cops directing traffic to ensure thatthings kept flowing. We only had to wait a little bit before making our way onto the fair ground. Next year, to avoid the congestion, we may park at one of the auxiliary lots and take the free shuttle over.

Our favorite part of any outdoor fair or festival is the food and the Sheepshearing Festival did not disappoint. Being rather hungry, we headed straight for the concession stands. Tasty treats of all kinds were available (BBQ, Greek, Persian, etc) for just a few bucks. Deciding what to get was the hardest part.

After we had our fill, it was time to stroll through the vendors and check out their wares. With over eighty crafters at the festival, there was something for everybody. Handmade items ranged from baked goods to hammered lanterns to stained glass mobiles! While there were all kinds of great stuff, the coolest item we saw were these cast metal keyrings from A-To-Zoo. Not only were they super detailed on the outside, but they were also anatomically correct on the inside…pretty amazing.

The Alpaca folks we saw in 2007 were once again showing at this festival. We stopped, bought some gloves, and had a very nice chat with the owner of Springbrook Farm. If we can fit it into this year’s schedule, we may just head out to Stow MA for a visit!

This Festival was held on the grounds of Gore Place. The location includes a small farm with sheep, goats and poultry, all of which were open to the public on Saturday. Along with all of the animal-petting opportunities, there were all kinds of other activities and demonstrations to entertain children and adults alike.

Dave Kennard and his dogs gave everyone a wonderful demonstration of how Border Collies herd goats and sheep. It was fun to watch these dogs follow Dave’s commands to move the herd around. Dave’s explanation of how the animals relate to each other (dogs/herd) gave us new appreciation for the level of training required to get the dogs to behave as they do.

Gore Place was built in 1806 and served as a summer home for Massachusetts Governor Christopher Gore and his wife Rebecca. The elegantly furnished mansion has been called “the Monticello of the North” and architectural historians consider it to be the most significant Federal period mansion in New England. Today this Federal period historic house is owned and operated by the Gore Place Society, a nonprofit members organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Gore Place. For upcoming events hosted at Gore Place, check out the “Events” link on their site.

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